Work Session

Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, District Principals, and facilitators, led a Work Session on Evidence of Progress on Reaching All Learners goals in the District's Strategic Plan. The Work Session focused on the District's approach to meeting the needs of high readiness learners through differentiation and appropriate levels of challenge.The format of the workshop was a panel discussion. Discussion topics included the methodology of meeting the needs of all learners, related policies,  the roles of teachers and facilitators, social emotional considerations, and communication with parents.

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information regarding the 2019 Final Levy . The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District's annual revenue. Later in the meeting, the School Board approved an aggregate levy increase of 2.72%.  This request includes capture of new property growth and anticipates a 1.9% CPI tax cap for existing property. The Board approved the 2019 Tax Levy as presented.

Regular Meeti ng 

Dawn Livingston, Board President, welcomed all in attendance. She noted that the Board has appreciated being welcomed into our schools for staff appreciation events recently. She also shared that the District and Village have collaborated in order to reach an intergovernmental agreement to address the Stormwater issues in the community. She wished staff and families a restful winter break and a Happy New Year.

Chris Rintz, Village President, shared details on the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement that has been reached regarding stormwater management. Per the agreement, underground areas of Crow Island property will be used for flood control efforts. This proposed solution to an ongoing problem in the Village provides floodwater relief for over 11,000 homes in west Winnetka. The agreement was approved later in the evening. Livingston noted that the stormwater management solution will not interfere with activities present or future at Crow Island. View the Village Press Release here .

Megan Riley, Schools Chair, presented the 2019 school platform of the Winnetka Caucus Committee. To view the four planks, click here .

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, highlighted how our students are truly living out the District's shared vision by making a meaningful difference in the world this holiday season. For instance, Skokie students led the collection of over 220 coats that they delivered to Connections for the Homeless this week. She thanked teachers, families, PTO leaders, and the community for working together to help make an impact for others. 

Additionally, Dr. Kocanda recognized exciting student and community news:
  • Yvette Hermann, an eighth grade student at Washburne, received 1st place in the Anti-Defamation League first amendment essay contest.
  • Middle school students had a successful First Lego League event; both Skokie and Washburne's teams qualified for the State tournament.  Skokie's "Cyber Storm" was the overall winner and received the "Champion's Award." 
  • Also, this fall, a committee of approximately 25 community members, educators, and parents has been in the midst of planning a March 10, 2020, celebration of the 100th anniversary of Progressive Education in Winnetka.

Informational Memos

This monthly update highlights progress toward the Reaching All Learners goals in the District' Strategic Plan.  Highlights this month include: the District hosted Hour of Code event for the community with record turnout; Reading interventionists refined tools for universal screenings; and the District presented at and participated in the national TASH conference (Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities) with NSSED, Lake Forest School Districts, and Deerfield School District.

Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, shared an update of current efforts to support District Goal 2.1, which focuses on building a community-wide understanding of Social Emotional Learning and its impact on students. Rodgers highlighted key learnings from the December Winnetka Parent Institute session on SEL, the full day CASEL workshop, and the Township NTiPLC tech group. 

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, shared an update on progress regarding redistricting.  The District is working on beautification of the tunnels that our students will use to access Greeley.  Another meeting with the Village will be held in January to address updates to timelines for signage and maps that will provide the safest routes to school.

Kelly Tess, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Professional Learning, provided the Board with a summary of overall enrollment and staffing as compared to September 2019, by District as well as by building.  The District has seen an overall increase of two students, as well as two staff members (one certified, one classified). The additions in staffing reflect the needs of students requiring additional support based on Individualized Education plans and/or behavioral intervention.
5. Safety and Security Update

Dr. Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, shared the District's commitment to continuously improve safety and security practices by partnering with community members along with the Winnetka Police and Fire Departments.   Some of the activities, agreements, processes, and procedures implemented over the past year include "STOP the Bleed" kits and training, threat assessment compliance, 2-way radio upgrades, lanyard system for staff and visitors, and an updated emergency call system.

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, shared an update on unexpected projects and costs related to aging facilities within the District per the request of the Facility Subcommittee.  The District has engaged a forensic architect to evaluate cast stone cornices at The Skokie School, this will result in a written report and recommendations provided by the architect in January.  The District has also conducted indoor air quality and carpet sampling at multiple schools. These resulted in no major issues.

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:

  1. Adoption of 2019 Property Tax Levy
  2. Selection of Strategic Planning Firm & Contract Approval
  3. Resolution Regarding Hardship Amendments to 457(b) Plan

Save the Date:
The School Board will host a community engagement session at Peet's Coffee at 817 Elm St., January 8 from 11-noon.

The Complete Board Packet for the December 17, 2019, School Board Meetings is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
January 28, 2020
February 25, 2020
March 17, 2020
April 21, 2020
May 19, 2020
June 11, 2020

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held at Greeley School through June 2020. Regular meetings begin at 7:15 p.m. Work sessions are also open to the public and may be scheduled at the discretion of the Board. Discussion topics and times for work sessions will be posted on the District website 24 hours in advance.
The Winnetka Public Schools community empowers every student to flourish in an innovative, experiential environment. We support and challenge all learners to actively engage in continual growth and achievement to make a meaningful difference in the world.  
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