Work Session

Strategic Planning
The District's current five-year Strategic Plan will sunset in 2020. Two potential consultants were interviewed regarding their recommended process to support the District in creating a new Strategic Plan. The Board is anticipated to approve a strategic planning partner to work with the District at the December 17, 2019, Board Meeting.

Regular Meeti ng 

Dawn Livingston, President, welcomed all in attendance. She recognized that the The Winnetka Public Schools is one of only 150 organizations that has been named a Top Workplace in Chicago. The list was announced on November 8 in a special section of The Chicago Tribune, and the award is based solely on the feedback that many staff members offered through an employee survey. She also wished our school community a restful Thanksgiving holiday.

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent,  shared highlights from the District including Bring a Neighbor to School Day at Greeley School and two middle school students representing the District at the Illinois Music Education Association festival. She noted that Police and Fire leaders recently met with District staff in order to facilitate a session on best practices in emergency situations. 


Betsy Allen, Auditor, from Miller, Cooper & Co. LTD., provided a summary of the audited 2019 Annual Financial Report. No material deficits or material weaknesses were identified in the District's financial statements. The District maintains its Financial Recognition status (the highest honor) from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Kelly Tess, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Professional Learning and Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, presented on the Districtwide initiative of Social Emotional Learning. The presentation highlighted recent work and outlined future milestones to be accomplished throughout the 2019-2020 school year. This includes significant professional development in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the work of the District SEL Supercommittee and the District Parent SEL Advocacy Team. In December, the District will provide a summary of work from the day two session with CASEL and a preview of focused efforts underway for 2020. 

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented information on the 2019 Tentative Levy. The Levy is a request for property tax income, representing over 90% of the District's annual revenue. A public hearing to discuss the proposed tax increase, and the School Board approval of the levy will be held at the December 17, 2019, Board Meeting. The District is seeking an aggregate levy increase of 2.72%. This request includes the capture of new property growth and a 1.9% CPI tax cap for existing property owners. It was noted that in 2017 the School Board refunded $30 million in bonds using fund balances, providing a reduction in future debt payments and reducing the payment for the 2019 Levy to $1.4 Million.

The 2019 Tentative Levy was approved later in the evening. To access FAQs on the 2019 Tentative Levy, please click here .

Informational Memos

This monthly update highlights progress toward the Reaching All Learners goals in the District's five-year Strategic Plan (2015-2020).  Highlights this month include: review of entrance and exit criteria for middle school reading and math intervention; development of goal banks and discrepancy statements for written expression and executive functioning; participation in the Association for Learning Environment Learningscapes conference on school design; offering eight instructional technology-based professional development sessions at the November Institute Day; and engaging all PTOs with informational sessions on EMFP and redistricting.

Given the District's commitment to SEL, and a goal specifically written to focus efforts and energy on building a shared understanding of SEL amongst the adult members of the greater educational community, this school year's first Teacher Institute Day was similarly dedicated to a focus on social-emotional learning, balance and wellness.  The day provided a balance of time for committee and curricular work, with focused learning sessions around social-emotional learning and wellness provided by instructional coaches through NSSED.

We will close each of our District's staff-wide learning opportunities this year with a feedback form in order to gauge the focus and success of the format.  Feedback from 126 staff members indicated that 96.8% of respondents selected 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (absolutely) in response to the following statement:  "The November Institute Day agenda/outline aligned with the district's goal of creating a shared understanding and commitment to SEL amongst the adults in our professional community.

The District has a longstanding commitment to parent education.  A fall and winter schedule for WPI sessions is included in the memo. The schedule aligns to District strategic goals, specifically several sessions on Social Emotional Learning.

Meetings continued this month to address specific work products, timelines and communication plans to support the implementation of the Redistricting Plan approved by the School Board at its October 22, 2019, meeting.  The School Board was updated on the District's progress in collaborating with the Village to address safety and routing issues, prior to the beginning of next school year. A meeting with the Village was held on November 12th, and a follow-up meeting will occur in January.  An  interactive mapping tool has been placed on the District website that depicts the school attendance zones approved by The School Board on October 22, 2019 and allows for community members to enter their address to confirm school assignment. 
5. Fall Assessment Report Addendum: Township IAR Data

Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, shared an addendum to the Fall 2019 Assessment Report that was originally presented at the October Board meeting.  

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:

1. Modular Lease
2. Tentative 2019 Levy
3. FY19 Financial Audit
4. IASB Resolution Positions for Delegate Assembly (the Board voted against supporting Resolutions #1 and #3)

Save the Date:
The School Board will host a community engagement session at Peet's Coffee at 817 Elm St, January 8 from 11-noon.

The Complete Board Packets for the November 19, 2019, School Board Meetings are here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
December 17, 2019
January 28, 2020
February 25, 2020
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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