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. 

Work Session

Kendra Wallace, Board President, called the meeting to order and provided an overview of the basis and timeline for Phase I of the Enrollment Balancing Project (EBP) and restated the School Board Advisory Committee's charge:

  1. Determine the best way to address space and program relief at Crow Island School (for fall 2017)
  2. Determine the best way to offer Extended Day Kindergarten in the short-term, with an eye toward the long-term
  3. Identify viable options and prioritize these options to address the long-term enrollment forecast and facility use (this provided context to the short-term recommendation)  

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent, recognized the time spent by the School Board Advisory Committee to gather information, listen to feedback, and ultimately land upon a recommendation for Phase I of the Enrollment Balancing Project.
Board Advisory Committee members shared the data that was analyzed and models that were considered throughout the EBP process as they developed their recommendation to the Board. The Committee recommended that the Board approve Model 1: All Crow Island Kindergarten students attend another District school . This recommendation was unanimously approved during the Regular Meeting to go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year. This Phase I solution for the Enrollment Balancing Project is expected to be in place for one to two years as the Board identifies a long-term Phase II solution to address imbalanced enrollment.

Regular Meeting

Board President, Kendra Wallace,  called the meeting to order and reiterated the context surrounding the Enrollment Balancing Project, and noted the democratic approach to the study to ensure that community voices were heard throughout the decision-making process.

Superintendent, Trisha Kocanda,  welcomed all in attendance and thanked the Board Advisory Committee members for their time and dedication to the Enrollment Balancing Project. She noted that the School Board meetings will now open with a video highlighting teaching and learning in our schools that exemplifies our Shared Vision.  A video about the new Enrichment/Inquiry period at The Skokie School was viewed.


Literacy Facilitators, Jen Fiegan and Liz Marut, provided an update on of the reading curriculum redesign conducted by the Language Arts Committee. The work shared represents the final phase of a five year English Language Arts curriculum review process. The presentation covered grammar and mechanics expectations and language and foundational skill expectations. In addition, specific reading skill progressions from grade-to-grade were identified.   As a result of the ELA redesign, the District now has a fully articulated ELA curriculum aligned to current standards and modeling best practices of balanced literacy and progressive education. As a resource for parents, comprehensive information about the District's ELA program may be found on the newly developed  District Language Arts website. As part of the final implementation phase, the ELA committee will target additional resources and materials for vocabulary acquisition and grammar skills and the District will host an Advanced Home Grown Reading Institute with Teachers College of Columbia University in the summer of 2017.

Informational Memos

Board Advisory Committee members shared the data that was analyzed and models that were considered throughout the EBP process as they developed their recommendation to the Board. The Committee recommended that the Board approve Model 1: All Crow Island Kindergarten students attend another District school . Later in the Meeting, this recommendation was approved to go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Mobile Learning Initiative (MLI) was implemented three years ago.  This update includes progress toward MLI goals and samples of student work.  The District saw growth in the areas of classroom, student skills, and professional learning.  A year-end update is expected in June.

Student enrollment has remained consistent since September 2016 at 1,688 students.  Increases in staffing are primarily due to student-specific needs in special education.  

The District Calendar Committee proposed a calendar that aligns with Illinois School Code, District contractual agreements, and New Trier High School winter and spring breaks. The Board is expected to approve the calendar at the February 21, 2017, School Board Meeting.

An analysis of the 2016 Adventures in Learning programming was shared and used to inform the 2017 summer staffing plan and tuition proposal. The Board later approved a 1% tuition increase, raising fees to $560 for residents and $610 for non-residents.

The 2016-2017 annual goals areas are Effective Communication, Experiential Learning, Fiscal Management & Facility Design, and Reaching All Learners. An update on progress toward goals was shared.

The concepts related to debt restructuring models were shared and discussed per the outcome of the January 9, 2017, Finance Committee meeting.  A Work Session on this topic is scheduled for February 21, 2017.

For the first time, the District prepared a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for FY16.  The CAFR is a more comprehensive financial report similar to private sector reporting. The auditors indicated that the District is in a strong financial position with appropriate internal controls.  A clean opinion was provided by the auditors as a result.

The Policy Subcommittee reviewed a number of School Board policies and provided recommendations for updates. A 2nd read of policies and vote to adopt the recommendations will occur at the February 21, 2017, Board Meeting.

Action Items

T he Consent Agenda and following action items were approved:

  1. Resolution Directing the Chief Financial Officer to Prepare the FY2018 Budget
  2. Crow Island School Building Improvements Bid (Summer Construction)
  3. Crow Island School Roofing Work Bid
  4. Fiscal Year 2016 Auditors' Report
  5. Adventures in Learning 2017 Program Fees
  6. Enrollment Balancing Board Advisory Committee Recommendation (All Crow Island Kindergarten students attend another District school )

The Complete Board Packet for the January 24, 2017, School Board Meeting, containing all Memos and Presentations is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
February 21, 2017
March 21, 2017

April 25, 2017
May 16, 2017
June 7, 2017 

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held at Crow Island School through June 2017. 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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