Regular Meeti ng 

Dawn Livingston, Board President,   welcomed all in attendance.  She noted that on February 4, she and Village President Chris Rintz officially signed the stormwater intergovernmental agreement (IGA) at Village Hall. At the last Board Meeting, the Board discussed appointing two board liaisons to the Strategic Planning Team and two liaisons to work with administration on facility planning and communications. Maxie Clarke and Megan Panje-Wilson were appointed to serve as the Board's liaisons on Strategic Planning and Emily Rose and Nat Roberts were appointed to serve as the Board's liaisons on facility planning and negotiations. Ms. Livingston also shared that she and Ms. Clarke had the opportunity to participate in a listening session with Principals to hear directly from building leadership on key issues. 

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent,  shared a reminder that The Winnetka Public Schools Celebrates 100 Years of Progressive Education on March 10, 2020 and the entire community is invited, from 6-8 p.m. in the Washburne gym. Together we will celebrate how Progressive Education has impacted thousands of students in Winnetka, inspired lifelong learning, and fostered a deep connection in our community that is still prevalent 100 years later. Additionally, it was shared that the District is launching Strategic Planning in March with the convening of the Portrait of a Graduate team, involving students, staff, parents, and community members. Dr. Kocanda said it was an honor for the District to again sponsor the Preschool-Kindergarten Summit along with The Alliance for Early Childhood and other partners. Thank you to the educators who helped plan and facilitate this event, which supports our youngest learners and draws educators nationally.


In advance of the 2020-2021 Staffing Plan presentation, Dawn Livingston, Board President, noted the various complexities regarding upholding educational goals while ensuring fiscal responsibility to taxpayers. As staffing represents eighty percent of the budget, the Board is examining the balance of goals and fiscal responsibility carefully.  She affirmed that the Board is listening to the various needs expressed throughout the District, including from staff. The Board charged the administration to put together a staffing plan that meets prioritized educational needs and adheres to financial parameters.

Kelly Tess, Assistant Superintendent,  presented the Preliminary Staffing Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year. This preliminary plan is presented in three "layers," outlining the ways in which enrollment, special education, and programmatic allocations impact our overall staffing totals.  The preliminary plan addresses a specific focus on the social-emotional and behavioral needs of students. The plan has a net impact of a reduction of 0.85 FTE certified staff and a 6.5 FTE non-certified support staff. District enrollment is forecasted to be relatively stable for next school year. Additionally, this preliminary plan reflects a commitment on behalf of the Board to align to a target of 3% Cost Per Pupil Growth.   The 2020-2021 Staffing Plan will be voted upon at the March 17, 2020, Board Meeting. 

Informational Memos

This monthly update highlights progress toward the Reaching All Learners goals in the District's Strategic Plan.  Highlights this month include: Washburne student focus groups on tech use and impact on well-being, Skokie students planning inquiry projects on positively impacting the world, and work on refining student expectations for written expression. 
A mid-year update of the District Improvement Plan focusing on the areas of math and reading was shared. The mid-year review provides progress on action steps and necessary adjustments to meet end-of-year goals and metrics.  Highlights included efforts to improve 5th grade math outcomes and the integration of inquiry standards and reading strategies to support literacy. 

An update of monthly efforts to support District Goal 2.1 on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) was provided.  District 36 hosted it's second Winnetka Parent Institute focusing on social awareness and relationship skills.  The Alliance for Early Childhood hosted their 5th Annual Preschool-Kindergarten Summit focused on Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Teachers engaged in professional learning focused on SEL on Teacher Institute Day. All New Trier Township School Districts have partnered with CASEL for the upcoming school year. The partnership will begin with a two-day Institute this June and extends to a Township-wide Teacher Institute Day in February 2021.

 4. Before/After School Care & Right at School

The District has provided before and after school care for District families via the program On-Deck. As the enrollment in this program is growing, there is an interest among our families to host child-care within our neighborhood schools. The Board was presented with a recommendation to contract with Right At School, a before and after school care program, starting next school year to meet the growing demands of before and after school care in the community.
 5. School Calendar 2020-2021 DRAFT (delayed approval)

The Calendar Committee has requested to delay approval of the 2020-2021 Calendar until the March meeting.  Since sharing the draft 2020-2021 calendar at the January Board meeting, we corrected the date of Good Friday, as it falls on April 2, 2021 as opposed to April 9, 2021.  This shift adds an additional student attendance day/teacher work day into the calendar, as Good Friday lands during spring break. The District must now modify the calendar to ensure teacher work days and student attendance days align with contracted agreements and state requirements.  An updated draft calendar with these changes will be evaluated by the Calendar Committee in preparation for a March 17, 2020, Board approval.

The District has hosted a summer learning program for over 75 years with recent participation of approximately 625 students.  This year's program will be held at Carleton Washburne School and Hubbard Woods School. Program fees were recommended to increase to $610 for residents, and $710 for non-residents,  with a goal for cost neutral programming.  

The District approved the Administration's recommendation to extend the contract with their transportation provider, North Shore Transit, for two years.  The increase of 5% per year are in line with cost increases seen with renewals for area Districts. The District will see savings from a reduction in routes due to redistricting.

8. Student Fees 2020-2021

Student fees are evaluated and adjusted annually based on benefit, performance, and economics of the related programs and services. After considerable analysis and benchmarking, recommended fee structures were presented for FY21.  The School Board is expected to vote on student fees at the March 17, 2020 meeting.

A summary of District investments were presented to and reviewed by the Financial Subcommittee earlier this month.  The District continues to responsibly invest its resources.

The Board was given an update on Facilities Contingency Projects taking place in our schools.  This month's update includes the investigation of chimney repairs needed at Crow Island.

The Board was given a progress report on preparations for redistricting. 

Data privacy and security are integral to the operation of any school district. The District strives to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of student data, while still allowing students to obtain a technologically rich educational experience. In addition to strengthening data security and privacy, the District's goal is to obtain the seal of Trusted Learning Environment from CoSN. 

Board Communications liaisons Nat Roberts and Emily Rose have worked with Dr. Kocanda and Communications Coordinator, Kate Hughes, on determining the timeline for the referendum and the preferred communications firm to advise the District as it pursues another referendum. Based on several factors, the Board agreed with a target referendum date of April 2021. It was recommended and later approved to hire Beyond Your Base and Public Opinion Strategies as the District's community engagement and outreach partner in advance of the referendum.

The Policy Subcommittee reviewed a number of School Board policies and provided recommendations for updates. 

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:
  1. Adventures in Learning Summer 2020 Program Fees
  2. 2020 Summer Facilities Work Bids
  3. FY21 Budget Calendar and Preparation Resolution
  4. Greeley School PTO Donation
  5. Communications Firm
  6. Transportation Contract Extension with North Shore Transit
Save the Date:
The School Board will host a community engagement session at Peet's Coffee at 817 Elm St., Winnetka, on Wednesday, March 4 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Complete Board Packet for the February 25, 2020, School Board Meetings is  here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
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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