March 2019
Dear District 67 Community Member,
 
To keep you informed, we will be sending you the District 67 Board Report on a monthly basis. Please note: These are not the official minutes of the Board of Education. Minutes once approved, all board agendas, packets, and videos can be found here. 
President's Report
Board President Mike Borkowski commented that over the past few weeks there has been a fair amount of frustration among the middle school parent population regarding transparency in regard to student discipline. Mike noted that personnel issues, student discipline, transparency and the law sometimes work together and at other times are in conflict with each other. Mike commented that there are times when the D istrict simply cannot be fully transparent, often due to legal issues, and sometimes due to safety issues. Virtually every month prior to the Board of Education meeting, the Board meets in Executive Session, which is closed to the public. The Open Meetings Act defines specific situations when Boards of Education are permitted to meet in Executive Session. All matters concerning personnel and/or student disciplinary matters must be discussed in Executive Session as required by the law. Boards are prohibited by federal privacy laws from sharing this information with the public.
 
This is also where student behavior and related discipline come into direct conflict with transparency. When an incident occurs at school and students come home talking about it, parents naturally want to know more details. Comments on social media are often speculative and rumors being stated as fact are often partially or entirely untrue. These speculative postings rarely include the entire picture of what occurred. In student disciplinary matters, the District considers what led up to the incident, other students that may have played a role either as instigators or peacemakers, and additional important context. School officials, including Board members, administrators, principals, teachers, and other staff members simply cannot jump into the conversation and set the record straight. Doing so would violate privacy laws. Mike stated that the Board and Administration do understand that this is frustrating. While fully understanding the frustration, the Board and Administration still cannot share the details as that is the law.
 
Mike went on to say that school building safety is another area where the District does not fully disclose all details, and that is because it is the smart thing to do, more than a legal issue. This Board was extremely transparent in communicating the renovations to the entrances at each of the school buildings. While the vestibules are important safety elements, there are many other safety features and plans that the District has implemented that are not shared publicly. The District does not want any potential offender to know all the specifics as it might make it easier to circumvent these measures. This is a case where safety becomes a higher priority than truly being 100% transparent. Mike acknowledged and hoped parents would understand and respect the balancing act.
 
Mike reported that expectations for student behavior, with associated consequences, are detailed in the student handbook that is posted on the Deer Path Middle School homepage. He announced that the Administration, in collaboration with the Board in its oversight role, had recently undertaken a thorough review of this information, as well as evaluating the implementation of it, to ensure alignment with the Board’s philosophy that all students have a right to an emotionally and physically safe learning environment. Students creating emotionally or physically unsafe learning environments should and will be separated from the environment and/or provided more support. 

Mike reiterated that this Board, as well as the entire Administrative team, take transparency, student behavior and discipline, and confidentiality very seriously, and will continue to do so. The District will continue to balance communicating with parents appropriately with following the law. Mike underscored that both safety and the education of our children remain the District’s top priorities. View video for complete report 
Superintendent's Report
Mike Simeck presented a revised draft of the District’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the District Dashboard. Mike asked for additional Board member feedback and suggestions. It is anticipated that the Dashboard will be forwarded to stakeholders and posted on the District website this spring. View video for complete report 
Strategic Plan
Assistant Superintendent Rebecca Jenkins provided an update of the 2018-19 Strategic Plan, including elements of the Social Emotional Curriculum and the upcoming pilot of social emotional screening tools. Rebecca noted that the Tri-District In-service Day with Lake Bluff Elementary District 65 and Lake Forest High School was a success. Renee Fitzsimmons, Director of Innovation, provided an update on the implementation of digital portfolios K-8. View written report View video
Education Committee
Jeff Folker reported that the Committee discussed digital portfolios and noted that documentation and reflecting are key elements of inquiry-based learning. Digital portfolios are important tools in this process. The Committee also reviewed an iPad recommendation for a trial program that would place 1-to-1 iPads in the hands of all 2 nd grade students and 5 th grade teachers this spring. The 5 th grade teachers would also receive professional development over the summer.

The Committee discussed the purchase of 75 new Advanced Algebra Trigonometry Honors (AATH) textbooks for the 2019-20 school year. The current textbooks were purchased in 2006. District 67 worked closely with District 115 and District 65 to come up with a recommendation that will align all three Districts instructionally. This recommendation will be brought before the Board at the April meeting.

Jeff noted that the District will move to a heterogeneous English Language Arts learning environment in 5 th grade based on recommendations from the Center for Talent Development. FAQs and details are available on the District’s website . The District will also be exploring the possibility of creating an “Advanced Learning Specialist” role in grades 5/6 to help ensure rigor and growth for advanced learners. View written report View video
North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED)
Suzanne Sands reported that the NSSED Leadership Council approved the employment of Julie Dillon as the Chief School Business Official and Lara Levine Buti as the Principal of North Shore Academy/Director of Social Emotional Learning. Suzanne reported that the Business Office is in the process of reviewing cost neutral structural departmental needs. She also noted that Ms. Madeline Will, special education pioneer and former Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education Programs for President Reagan, will be part of the Association of Parents and Staff (APS) board professional learning series in May. Suzanne concluded her report by stating that NSSED will collaboratively develop a cooperative financial model for the future during the 2019-2020 school year.
Legislative Liaison
Tom Ford reported that Governor Pritzker unveiled his 2020 budget for the state of Illinois. Tom commented that Governor Pritzker emphasized that he wants a graduated state income tax. Illinois currently has a flat individual tax rate of 4.95%, that is codified in the Illinois constitution, and can only be changed by law. The Governor is proposing a graduated income tax, which would need to be voted on and passed by a three-fifths vote of the General Assembly to even put it on the ballot. It would then be voted upon by Illinois voters. The budget also includes more gambling and marijuana options for Illinois residents to close the three-billion-dollar budget gap. No notable cuts were included as the Governor proclaimed that Illinois cannot cut its way out of its fiscal problems. Tom also reported that in relation to education, spending will rise by 630 million dollars, which will be divided among grade schools, high schools, universities and early childhood programs. However, this additional money will be offset by 800 million dollars in expected payments to worker pension programs across the state. The state is also expected to sell 2.3 billion dollars in pension bonds in April.
Association of Parents and Teachers (APT) Executive Board
Jeff Folker reported that the APT Annual Meeting was recently held at CROYA. Larry Potash, Lake Forest resident and WGN-TV news anchor was the guest speaker. Superintendent Mike Simeck presented the State of the District.
 
The 2019-2021 slate of officers was approved:
APT Executive Board President - Kristen Lee
APT Executive Board Communications - Lacy Fidler
APT Executive Board Treasurer - Julie Benda Helms
Deer Path Middle School APT President - Megan Engelberg
Everett Elementary APT President - Jacey Rhoads

Jeff thanked the APT Executive Board Nominating Committee and Chair Beth Laufenberg for their efforts in this important process. View video
Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB)
Alice LeVert announced that the IASB – Lake Division met with over 200 board members, superintendents, and school board candidates in attendance. A presentation on Understanding and Leading for Equity was presented by The Consortium for Educational Change. The Consortium shared the Equity BIG 8 for consideration: disability, sexual orientation, religion, gender, race/ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status. The various meanings of equity were considered including equality, access, proportional outcomes, political, social, psychological and institutional change. The group also discussed how to build equity. Alice noted that the group was reminded not to focus on the barriers but rather to focus on the doorways. View written report View video
For complete information:

Next Meeting
Tuesday, April, 23, 2019, 7:00 p.m., Sheridan School, 1360 N. Sheridan Road