Strategic Planning

Board Highlights are timely recaps of School Board meetings. They are emailed to staff, parents, and interested community members before the official minutes are approved and posted. 


Links to pertinent memos and presentations from the Board packet are highlighted in green. Board packets are posted the day before regularly scheduled Board meetings.


Meeting podcasts, packets, and Board information can be accessed using the links on the left. 

Regular Meeting

Board President, Kendra Wallace, called the meeting to order. She acknowledged that 2016 began on a bittersweet note in the community and requested a moment of silence in honor of the four young men, three of whom attended The Winnetka Public Schools, whose lives were tragically lost earlier this month. On behalf of the District, she expressed condolences to their loved ones, friends, and teachers. She also stated that the Board listened to the many viewpoints stated in December regarding the 2015 Final Levy. After an extensive discussion, the Board lowered the levy request from 5.95% to 1.87%. 

Superintendent, Trisha Kocanda, shared noteworthy updates from District schools, gave an overview of the professional learning experienced by staff at the recent Institute Day, and noted that many educators, including a recent group from University of Chicago, have been visiting the District's STEAM environments. She announced that as part of the District's Winnetka Parent Institute program, there will be two upcoming events in which the District is partnering with New Trier High School.


Superintendent, Trisha Kocanda, unveiled the final shared vision statement for District 36: 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 their continual growth and achievement to make a meaningful difference in the world. The shared vision is the product of over 200 hours, 70 meetings and multiple verification stages with community members. The statement is meant to inform decision-making, establish a standard of excellence, and transcend the status quo.

FY2015 Auditors' Report

Representatives from Miller, Cooper & Co. LTD. provided a summary of the audited 2015 Annual Financial Report. No material deficits or material weaknesses were identified in the District's financial statements. The District maintains its Financial Recognition status (highest honor) from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Director of Human Resources, Dr. Maureen Hager , presented the Preliminary Staffing Plan after consulting with District administrators regarding how to best meet student needs while responsibly utilizing staffing. Enrollment and staffing are both expected to decline by 2%. The District's goal is to align the staffing plan with student enrollment while accommodating for student or program needs. The 2016-2017 Staffing Plan will be approved at the February Board Meeting.

Principal, Carleton Washburne School, Dave Kanne, and  Assistant Principal, Carleton Washburne School, Tony Venetico, shared the 2015 grade 8 ERB results for reading and math.  The ERB is an exam given by New Trier High School, and one of four factors used by the school when making freshman placement decisions. Reading scores were higher in 2015 than in 2014, while math scores were lower. The school is working to analyze, understand, and respond to the results.  Washburne teachers will be discussing students' New Trier placements with parents during upcoming conferences. 

Informational Memos

The "Big Five" areas of focus for the strategic work of the 2015-2016 school year are Math, Reading, STEAM, Kindergarten, and Winnetka University. Progress on these goals and revisions to the Strategic Plan 2015-2020 were documented and shared.
 2. PARCC 2015 Preliminary Analysis

Each school reviewed the available 2015 PARCC results, which were received in November 2015.  Trends and themes were reported; however, the State's assessment item analysis reports are unavailable until late February.  More detailed information will be accessible at that time.

 3. STAR Assessment and Selection of New Assessment

District administration determined that the STAR assessment will no longer be administered to students due to lack of data integrity, poor service by Renaissance Learning (parent company of STAR), and the company's limited ability to provide customization of reporting. To replace STAR, another nationally-normed computer adaptive assessment will be recommended to the School Board by April. 

After three years of implementing a revised curriculum and materials, the District will conduct a comprehensive grade 1 - 8 math program evaluation to gain objective feedback on curriculum, instructional practices, materials, and professional learning. This evaluation will be conducted by Dr. Meriam Sherin, Northwestern University, and Mr. Jim Lynn, University of Illinois at Chicago.  The evaluation will take place from February - April.

Data gathered from the three STEAM prototype spaces was reported and aligned to the student outcome goals.  A recommendation to expand the STEAM program, including a proposed budget,  was presented. The Board is expected to vote on the STEAM program's expansion in March.

The Alliance for Early Childhood is hosting the 1st Annual New Trier Township Preschool-Kindergarten Summit at the Chicago Botanic Garden on Thursday, February 11, 2016. Sponsored in part by The Winnetka Public Schools, this is an opportunity for early childhood educators to convene to discuss latest research.

The Calendar Committee proposed a 2016-2017 calendar that will be brought to the Board for adoption at the February 23, 2016, meeting.

The program will run from June 15 through July 19, 2016. It was recommended that staff receive a 3% increase in stipend rates with no increase in registration fees.

The School Board was provided with a timeline for developing and adopting the FY2017 Budget.  

As the Village of Winnetka's stormwater management plans become more definitive, the administration and School Board expect to become further involved in the problem-solving process.

After reviewing space and programming needs at Crow Island School, District administration is pursuing the initial steps for the possible installation of temporary classrooms to relieve space constraints.  Parent and neighbor engagement opportunities are forthcoming to ensure there is input and understanding.

Action Items

The Consent Agenda and the following action items were approved.
  1. FY2015 Audit Report and Arrangement Letter
  2. FY2017 Budget Resolution and Calendar
  3. 2016 Adventures in Learning Program Fees & Stipends
  4. Math Program Evaluation 2016 (grades 1 - 8)

The Complete Board Packet for the January 26, 2016, School Board Meeting, containing all Memos and Presentations, is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
February 23, 2016
March 15, 2016
April 19, 2016

May 17, 2016
June 8, 2016

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held in The Skokie School Resource Center. 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.
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