Here’s what’s going on at District 205

The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board held a regular meeting on June 18 at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York St. Board member Chris Kocinski was absent from the meeting.

FCCLA students honored

The board recognized the York High School students who earned gold, silver and bronze medals at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) State Leadership Conference, which took place in Springfield in April. York students won 19 gold medals and 21 silver medals at the event. Three York students—Yusarah Haswarey, Kayla Tutunji and Elizabeth Greiwe—earned “Most Outstanding” distinction, which was awarded to those with the top project in their category.

Board salutes SkillsUSA medalists

The board also recognized the York students who earned medals at the SkillsUSA State Competition, which took place in Springfield in April. The honored students included Joseph Gemini, who earned first place in Technical Drafting CAD, and Jeff Wasco, who earned first place in Screen Printing Technology.

Operational plan presented

The meeting included a presentation about the district’s operational plan for 2019-22. District 205 Superintendent David Moyer told the board the operational plan was not a traditional strategic plan. He said the three-year plan would be flexible, as well as relevant and pertinent. The plan, Moyer said, establishes the district’s priorities over the next three years. He said the district staff would review the plan regularly to verify that specific outcomes of the plan were being met. He also described the operational plan as a document that drives resource allocation and professional learning.

Noting the district had no such plan when he was hired in 2015, Moyer said the plan is designed to improve student learning. In addition to instructional priorities, the operational plan includes details about the district’s facilities and finances. Moyer said he anticipated that the board would approve the operational plan at the next board meeting on July 16.

Discussion of education fund includes salaries, benefits

Referring to the district’s finances, Moyer stated the education fund makes up 80 percent of the district’s budget. He said that salaries and benefits make up 80 percent of that education fund. Moyer said that the district’s staffing has gone up, as has its enrollment. He also noted that the district has recently hired instructional coaches, as well as additional special education teachers. Moyer said the district had 616 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in the 2011-12 school year. The district had 694.8 FTEs in the recent 2018-19 school year. Board member Jim Collins asked about the district’s enrollment during that period. The district staff did not provide an answer at the time. According to Illinois State Board of Education figures, the district had 8,054 students in the 2011-12 school year, and 8,599 students during the 2017-18 school year.

Update on dual language program

The meeting included an update on the district’s dual language program, which was initiated during the 2018-19 school year. The district offers two-way immersion at Conrad Fischer Elementary School. About 50 percent of the students in the classroom are native Spanish speakers, and about 50 percent of the students are native English speakers. The two-way immersion program provides 80 percent of instruction in Spanish and 20 percent instruction in English in kindergarten and first grade. The Spanish to English ratio changes to 70-30 in second grade, 60-40 in third grade and 50-50 in grades 4-12.

There are currently three dual language classrooms at Fischer School; those classes include students from all over the district. Ariana Leonard, the district’s director of language acquisition, said the dual language program is replacing the existing transitional bilingual education program. The goal of the dual language program is for students to become bilingual, biliterate and multicultural. Leonard noted that literacy is taught in both Spanish and English during each day of class in the dual language program.

Instructional coaching discussed

Mary Henderson, the district’s outgoing associate superintendent for learning and leadership, addressed the board about the district’s instructional coaching program. Henderson noted that the board approved the program about three years ago. The purpose of instructional coaching, Henderson said, is to improve student learning. Instructional coaches visit classrooms and provide support and feedback to teachers. According to Henderson, the instructional coaching program is making a tremendous difference and having a positive impact on student achievement.

Tammaru follows Henderson’s lead

Later in the meeting, Moyer noted that Henderson was about to leave the district to become the superintendent of Roselle School District 12. Moyer recommended that Nikki Tammaru, District 205’s director of literacy, be reassigned from that position to the position of assistant superintendent for learning and leadership development. The board unanimously approved the Tammaru’s reassignment. Her new position has an annual base salary of about $158,000. Before becoming the district’s director of literacy in 2017, Tammaru spent six years as the principal of Hawthorne Elementary School.

Bryan new principal appointed

The board also approved the appointment of Thomas Sheehan as the assistant principal of Bryan Middle School. Sheehan will have a start date of Aug. 1, and an annual base salary of about $85,000. Sheehan will replace Jason Crockett, who left for a position in another district.

Settlement agreement approved

The board also voted to approve a settlement agreement between the board and the parents of a district student. Neither the board nor district staff made any comments on the matter.

Board terminates paving contract, hires different company

The board voted unanimously to approve the termination of the district’s contract with Troch McNeil Paving Company as awarded in May. The board voted to terminate the contract for paving and award the bid instead to Allstar Asphalt in the amount of about $1.265 million. In May, the board approved a contract with Troch McNeil in the amount of $1.159 million for paving projects this summer. Those projects included the parking lot at Churchville Middle School, as well as smaller projects at York, Bryan Middle School and Jackson Elementary School.

According to district staff, Troch McNeil Paving Company was not contractually prepared to execute the project.

Allstar Asphalt may have to accelerate its schedule to complete the parking lot project at Churchville before the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Student final test exemption questioned

Moyer noted at the end of the meeting that the 2018-19 school year was the first year that a senior final exam exemption was in place at York. He said that more than 90 percent of seniors qualified for an exemption from one or more tests. Moyer said that the senior final exam exemption would continue, but he did say he was troubled by the excessive number of absences of some students. In order to earn an exemption, students had to have a limited number of absences during the school year.

Human resources hire announced

Moyer also noted the departure of Henderson, and of Jim Woell, at the end of the meeting. Woell, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources, is leaving to become the superintendent of Benjamin School District 25 in West Chicago. Mark Cohen, District 205’s assistant superintendent for innovation and growth, will replace Woell as the assistant superintendent for human resources.

The board will hold its next regular meeting on July 16.

 

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