Regular Meeting 

Dawn Livingston, Board President, noted that the District recently marked a year of COVID-related management and planning. Over the course of the past year, it has been evident how deeply this Village cares about its students and their learning experience. Together the community has prioritized in-person learning, problem-solved and made personal sacrifices to support safety in the midst of a constantly evolving situation. She expressed confidence in District administration as they continue to plan for an extended school day within the current safety guidelines.

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, thanked the buildings and grounds staff for their efforts to keep the District's buildings safe and warm in the midst of the recent snow and extreme cold. She also recognized how teachers, PTOs, and students made Valentine's festivities special in light of the pandemic. She also announced the state was not granted a waiver from the federal government regarding Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) testing this year, so students in grades 3-8 will need to take the annual standardized test battery.

  • Carleton Washburne School (grades 7 & 8)
    • Preparation plans are on track for a March 15 implementation of the Extended Day schedule.
    • 97% of the students will be in-person; 3% will be remote.
    • Cross Country and track will be offered to students in Grades 6-8 this Spring.
  • Crow Island, Greeley, Hubbard Woods, & Skokie Schools (grades K-6)
    • Grades 1 - 6: With continued staff access to vaccines AND if health guidance supports social distancing less than 6 feet, AM/PM pods merge for modified full-day of school with a targeted Monday, April 19 start date.
    • Schedules are under development with lunch at home; the School Board requested more information on lunch and potential options.
    • Families will have another opportunity to choose on-site or remote learning once schedules are available mid-March.
    • Kindergarten: Due to a number of factors related to developmental appropriateness, Kindergarten students will maintain their current hybrid schedule this spring.
Kelly Tess, Assistant Superintendent, shared updated health guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, noting that ~70% of Tier 1b staff have either received the vaccine or scheduled their first dose of the vaccine. Additionally, the launch of a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) vaccination clinic at New Trier High School is expected on March 1 to serve municipal workers and staff.

Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, presented information on the Winter MAP assessment. District 36 Data showed that students are performing at or near pre-pandemic levels for most grades in reading and math. 

The School Board will hold a special board meeting to follow-up on extended day plans on Wednesday, March 10 to review:
  • Details of the Modified Full Day schedule for Grades 1-6.
  • Vaccination status and current health guidance specific to merging the am/pm pods in Grades 1-6.

Informational Items

A mid-year update on District's administration on progress toward 2020-2021 Annual Goals was shared, including details on Reaching ALL Learners, Facility Needs & Priorities, Financial Priorities & Planning, and Strategic Planning. A year-end update will be provided later this spring.

Over the course of the past year, a group of stakeholders including students, educators, and community members has collaborated to determine the Portrait of a Graduate to guide the priorities in the District's next Strategic Plan. The Portrait will provide strategic
direction for the redesign of the overall educational experience for students. A Strategic Design Team process will commence in early March, in order to:
  • Analyze strengths and areas of focus for the District (SWOT Analysis)
  • Review the District's Mission, Vision, and Values
  • Refining the Portrait of a Graduate
The Board and community will be kept apprised of progress in this area.  A survey will be administered in early April to parents, staff, and students.

An in-person Adventures in Learning program adhering to the District's current mitigation plan and student cohort and pod framework will be offered. Extended School Year (ESY) services will be provided in a format similar to last summer, where students with IEPs will receive 1:1 tutoring in academic areas in which they qualify for ESY services (at no cost to parents). 

Starting this year, the District will offer grade-level specific support classes for math fundamentals and reading/language arts. The AIL Program Catalog will be available via the District website mid-March and registration will begin the week before spring break.

In November, the Administration and Board of Education received a letter from a group of parents regarding the Safe Routes to School that the District had provided to the community as part of the redistricting plan last spring.  District Administration met with the Winnetka Police Department and Village officials to discuss possible solutions to the issues that the parent group had raised.  

The Board was presented with a draft calendar for the 2021-2022 school year.  This draft mirrors previous years' calendar models; however, it does include a full week off for Thanksgiving.  Linked here is a draft for review of the 2021-2022 School Calendar. A final draft of the calendar will be brought to the Board for adoption at the March 23 meeting. 

Given the dates used for remote planning and remote learning, as well as the heat day called on August 28, the school year will end one day earlier than previously communicated. As such, the last day of school this year will be Friday, June 4 (and not Monday, June 7). 

Brad Goldstein, CFO, presented bids for the contract to perform construction work related to the interior courtyard at The  Skokie School during the summer of 2021. Work includes excavation, waterproofing, turf, and certain utilities.  The Board approved Stuckey Construction Co., Inc. with a total base bid of $238,000.00.  

The Board was informed of several decisions that will need to be made in the coming weeks.  These include transportation, food service, student fees, and before and after school care.  These items will be addressed in greater detail at the next meeting of the Financial Subcommittee.

The typical timeline for staffing for the coming school year has been delayed due to the pandemic and associated protocols which impact staffing needs.  The Board will have the opportunity to review staffing numbers at the March 23 Board meeting, which will include anticipated staffing adjustments related to incoming students with individualized education plans, and the lingering impact of the pandemic in transitioning to a new school year.  

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:

  1. Resolution Directing The Chief Financial Officer To Prepare The FY2022 Budget and Budget Calendar
  2. Amendment to SY 2020-2021 Calendar
  3. Adventures in Learning Program Summer 2021 Program and Fee Structure
  4. 2021 Summer Work Bid Package 2

The Complete Board Packet for the February 23, 2021 School Board Meeting is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
March 23, 2021
April 27, 2021
May 25, 2021
June 15, 2021

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held at Carleton Washburne School through June 2021. 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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