The District 67 Board of Education met in person on June 29, with President Justin Engelland saying it felt “great to be back” in the Boardroom before he previewed the evening's agenda which included:
Action on extending a contract to a new principal for Cherokee Elementary School. The contract for Dr. Chad M. Prosen was approved later in the meeting.
- A leadership transition, as the meeting was the last for Interim Superintendent Constance “Connie” Collins. Her last day with District 67 was June 30. When Dr. Collins arrived in the spring, Mr. Engelland said, the Board asked her to focus on three goals: implementing a supervised remote program; developing a robust summer school program that addressed learning loss; and building a plan for a return to five-day-a-week in-person learning in the fall. All, he said, were accomplished, adding: “Thank you Connie, for your impactful and steady leadership.”
- A look at the “next chapter” for Districts 67 and 115 which begins with the July 1 arrival of Superintendent Matthew Montgomery. “Over the summer,” Mr. Engelland said, “Matt will be working with the Board to refine goals for the District for the upcoming year, optimize our shared services model, and further improve community engagement and communication.” The District, he said, “has a lot to look forward to.”
Highlights from Interim Superintendent Constance Collins’ report included updates on:
- COVID-19 mitigation efforts, which included Deer Path Middle School’s hosting three vaccination clinics. Dr. Michelle Shinn, Director of Student Services and School Improvement, provided this portion of the report and said the District was still awaiting clarification from state officials on mask policies for the fall.
- Summer School. Participation in District 67 Summer School is up, with 300 children attending in-person classes at Sheridan Elementary School, Dr. Collins said. In previous years, about 150 students have attended the District 67 June Summer School Session. That jump is unlike what most Districts nationwide are seeing, with media reports indicating summer school enrollment is down.
- District Mandarin program. A reduction in the number of students enrolling in Mandarin, coupled with a desire for increased school time spent on math, reading, SEL and recess, led Dr. Collins to recommend reducing daily Mandarin classes to 30 minutes from 60 minutes this fall, increasing Mandarin recruitment efforts, and planning to reassess for the 2022-23 school year.
- Medically-necessitated remote learning. District administrators expect to have a draft plan to the Board by July 15 on how to accommodate students for whom remote learning is medically necessary as well as a plan for students affected by shorter-term quarantines during the 2021-22 school year.
- New Principal for Cherokee Elementary School. After an extensive search that included parent and staff surveys, stakeholder focus groups, and interviews, Dr. Collins and Dr. Montgomery recommended that the Board hire Dr. Chad M. Prosen as principal of Cherokee. He will replace Luke Livingston, who resigned to take a principal position with Crow Island Elementary School in Winnetka’s Public School District 36. The recommendation was approved later in the meeting and Dr. Prosen begins his new role July 1.
Members of the community urged the Board to push state officials to lift all COVID-19-related restrictions, including required masks and quarantines, for students’ return in the fall; asked that Board members always consider science and legal requirements when deciding on COVID-19 mitigation efforts; said Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) mitigation requirements should be considered only as guidelines; noted that children are able to go without masks in many public places this summer and they should be allowed to do so at school in the fall.
The District is presently following the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) mandate on COVID-19 risk mitigation efforts (including masks)which reads: "All persons, including students, teachers, school nurses and other health personnel, administrative and secretarial staff, food service personnel, custodial staff, public safety personnel, etc., on the grounds of all public and nonpublic schools that serve students in prekindergarten through grade 12 must wear a face mask at all times when in school or in transit to and from school via group conveyance (e.g., school buses), unless a specific exemption applies.” ISBE and IDPH are expected to release more information regarding school risk mitigation requirements before the start of the 20221-2022 year.
Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI) and Emotional Wellness Report
Dr. Michelle Shinn shared findings from the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory administered to students, staff, and parents in alternating years. Despite COVID-19, she said, the 2020-21 school year ratings “look better than they ever have.” Such positive results in what Mr. Engelland described as “an absolutely brutal year” were questioned, with Dr. Shinn saying administrators will be digging into the data.
Post Issuance Tax Compliance Report
Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Hermes reported to the Board that the District is following all the rules, regulations, and reporting requirements around debt service extension bonds.
Chair Suzanne Sands said the committee had not met since the last Board meeting.
Finance & Operations Committee
Alice LeVert, who heads the committee, said members met June 16. Community members newly selected for the committee are: Steve Sewry, Irene Okada, Lori Lambropoulos, and Kate Zimlich.
Chair Richard Chun said the committee joined its District 115 counterpart in an “emergency meeting” on June 4. The meeting was for an update on follow-up items identified after the independent investigation that attorney Rebecca Veidlinger led into sexual misconduct allegations involving a former District 115 teacher. District 67 participated in the meeting so two policies that were part of the follow-up would be mirrored by both boards, Mr. Chun said. The District 67 Board gave first-reading approval to the two policies later in the meeting.
North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) Liaison
Suzanne Sands shared the “very exciting” news that as of July 1, NSSED will begin using its new name: TrueNorth Educational Cooperative 804.
Carl Kirar said he met with ED-RED to explore additional outreach and interaction. ED-RED will start its meetings and committees this fall.
Spirit of 67 Liaison
Richard Chun said The Spirit of 67 is busy this summer planning Outdoor Spaces, its 17th annual Home Tour fundraiser taking place on Sept. 30.
Public Participation — Second Opportunity
Members of the community expressed support for the earlier comments about ending COVID-19 mitigation efforts when students return in the fall and asked that the Board ensure that students at Deer Path Middle School not be allowed to use cell phones during the school day.
Approved Approval of Cherokee Principal Contract
Approved Approval of the Resolution to Recall a Licensed Teacher