Volume 25, No. 3 | Thursday September 23, 2021
News from the September 21, 2021 meeting
SHIELD Testing Part of
New Year of Challenges
 
The district implemented weekly SHIELD Illinois saliva testing the week of September 13 as an additional safety measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The testing, developed by the University of Illinois and highly effective in detecting the virus, is offered at no cost to Illinois school districts through the Illinois Department of Public Health. A health care contractor oversees the testing process with the support of school personnel.
 
Students at the three elementary schools and 6th grade at the junior high participated during the first week. Unvaccinated individuals are eligible for the test, and parents have the choice of opting out their child if so desired. Participation rates varied by school, ranging from 75% to 86%. During the first week of testing only one positive case was identified through SHIELD testing. 

Unfortunately, testing was suspended this week due to a supply issue. The district is in contact with SHIELD Illinois and will resume testing as soon as the issue can be resolved. There are enough supplies to test eligible 7th- and 8th-grade students on Thursday, Sept. 22. 

COVID Dashboard 
In coordination with the launch of SHIELD testing, the district developed a COVID dashboard to publish more detailed information on positive cases and student quarantines. The dashboard is updated daily with newly reported positive cases of both students and staff as well as student quarantine daily averages. The dashboard was designed to replace individual letters for case notifications that had previously been sent. However, IDPH released new guidance on Sept. 21 requiring districts to provide direct notification to staff and parents when a COVID-19 positive individual was in a school during their infectious period (48 hours prior to symptom onset for a symptomatic person or 48 hours before specimen collection for an asymptomatic person through the date of last attendance). Therefore, positive case notification letters to parents and staff will resume while also maintaining the COVID dashboard.
 
Vaccination Rates

  • 72% of 427 eligible students age 12 and older
  • 99% of certified staff are either fully vaccinated or in the process
  • 96.6% of all staff are either fully vaccinated or in the process
Superintendent Search Underway With Survey

The Board of Education and School Exec Connect consultants developed a community-wide online survey that is open through Oct. 12. Parents, staff and community members are invited to participate.
 
In addition, the consultants will conduct focus groups both for public participation and by invitation during the same period. Parents and community members will have the opportunity to register for one-hour virtual discussions that will be hosted by Dr. Linda Yonke and/or Dr. Devon Horton. Additional communication will be sent throughout the coming weeks with invitations to register for one of the forums.
 
Updates throughout the process will be published on the district’s Superintendent Search page.
Interim Principal Named for Meadowbrook
Beginning October 14, Helena Vena will serve as Meadowbrook’s interim principal while Pat Thome is on a one-month medical leave. Mrs. Vena is the recently retired principal from Glen Grove School in Glenview District 34, where she served in that capacity for 12 years. She will oversee the day-to-day operations while Mr. Thome is away.
2021-22 Budget
New Curriculum, Equipment and Building Improvements 

The Board of Education approved the 2021-22 budget with an eye toward restoring district reserves if contingency funds are not needed. The $45 million budget calls for spending on a new district-wide science curriculum and additional grammar and math supports, classroom equipment and facilities improvements.
 
Capital projects completed this summer are part of the spending plan, including security upgrades at all four schools and roofing repairs at Northbrook Junior High and Greenbriar School.
 
Salaries and benefits account for 78% of the budget. Teachers' salaries are based on the salary schedule, which had an average increase of 3.56% over the prior year. Administrator and support staff increases are budgeted at 2.5% increases.

The budget for new equipment includes iPads for the first year of the refresh cycle for the Learning First one-to-one device program, staff computer replacements, integrated classroom projectors, and classroom furniture.

Revenues
Total revenues are estimated to be a 3.85% increase over the prior year’s budget.
This year’s revenues include a $545,574 boost from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and slightly higher tax receipts due to a combination of new property development and a higher inflation rate that is tied to the amount the district can collect.
 
Facility improvements budgeted at $782,310 and contingencies of $781,500 push spending over revenues by $465,042. Chief School Business Official Jessica Donato said she is hopeful most of the contingency will not be expended, which will then allow the district to begin rebuilding the district’s reserves.

Review the complete Budget Summary for additional information.
District Happenings
Students point out invasive species to Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt during Ecology Day at Techny Prairie. The students also tested water quality for pH and oxygen to measure the waterway's health.
Ecology Day a Win-Win for Students, Park District
A community partnership was rekindled when Northbrook Junior High seventh-grade students spent a morning experiencing the ecology of their own backyard.

Techny Prairie Park, maintained by the Northbrook Park District, is a short hike away from the school and has been the site of the early September half-day field trip for many years. After a one-year COVID hiatus, the students were back on Sept. 3, and the park district couldn’t be happier. 

The students rotate through four stations. They look for vertebrae and invertebrates in river water samples, test the pond and river water for pH level and oxygen, remove invasive species from the prairie and discuss conservation.

The prairie restoration has had a lasting impact on the site, said Chris Ryerson, Northbrook Park District Grounds Supervisor. “Even though this is only a few hours of work, (the students) manage to remove a pickup truck’s worth of unwanted plants. One of the main invasive plants we are removing is Purple loosestrife. One plant can produce up to 500,000 seeds, so removing them is very important,” Ryerson said.

Want to Know More?
Livestream/Archive Video
The Board of Education meetings are live-streamed on the District 28's YouTube Channel. The live streams are also archived for later viewing.

Next Meeting is October 26
The Board of Education is holding in-person meetings at Northbrook Junior High. The meeting will be held following health and safety protocols. The meetings will continue to be live-streamed on the District 28 YouTube channel. The next regular meeting of the Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. on October 26.