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. 

Public Hearing

Brad Goldstein, Chief Financial Officer, presented the Budget Timeline and Budget Philosophy, which includes minimizing contingencies, investing in curriculum, and maintaining high-quality programs and facilities. Financial factors were also presented including property tax levy considerations, federal and state revenues and expenditures, strategic planning and future funding of facility needs. Total Budgeted Revenues for FY19 are $48,252,237. Total Budgeted Expenditures for FY19 are $45,208,512. Deferred facility maintenance items account for much of the projected surplus, as the District is engaged in a long-term educational master facility plan. The District will evaluate surpluses each year to assess if these should be utilized to address deferred facility maintenance items that have been identified.  The Board voted to approve the budget during the Regular Meeting.

Regular Meeti ng 

Kristen Hertel, Board President, welcomed all in attendance. She noted that while the Board is focused on its day-to-day work to ensure that 2018-2019 is a successful year for students, they remain committed to moving forward with approving a long-term Educational Master Facility Plan after many years of work toward this goal.

She also recognized that the District received a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE) from Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). ASBO International's COE recognizes districts that have met the program's high standards for financial reporting and accountability.

Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent,  thanked parents and teachers who attended recent Go to School Nights. She shared that students invited many community members and first responders to "Bring Your Neighbor to School Day" at Hubbard Woods.


Trisha Kocanda, Superintendent welcomed Paul Fallon of Fallon Research & Communications, Inc. The School Board commissioned a survey with Fallon Research & Communications, Inc. to affirm the community's priorities and values and understand their readiness to fund the Educational Master Facility Plan.  Mr. Fallon presented the survey methodology, including controls for a balanced demographic representation, and results from the September community survey. The telephone survey of randomly selected 301 Winnetka residents provided feedback on community priorities, funding support, and readiness to address multiple aspects of the District's aging schools, infrastructure, and upgrades to learning environments.

Key survey results shared include:
  • 92% of respondents rate the quality of education provided by The Winnetka Public Schools as "excellent/good."
  • 82% of respondents think maintaining neighborhood schools is very or somewhat important even though this configuration is more expensive to operate than consolidation of schools.
  • 74% of respondents think it is a good idea to repair and upgrade Winnetka schools.
  • 88% of respondents support repairs and upgrades to Winnetka schools within the current bond obligation, so these taxes would not change; 43% support comprehensive upgrades that could potentially increase taxes by $1,000 (per $1 million of property value).
In addition, Mr. Fallon noted the strong indication and  "mandate to act" on school facilities repairs and upgrades despite sensitivity to "too high" taxes as well as the unique alignment of parent and non-parent responses on many key issues and general priorities.  The School Board will incorporate the survey-poll results into the Working Assumptions and comprehensive EMFP research conducted by the Core Team. This completes the work of the EMFP data gathering process.

Adoption of the long-range Educational Master Facilities Plan is anticipated at the October 23, 2018, School Board meeting followed by a work session in November to define the implementation plan and a Phase I facilities project to present to voters in April 2019. As previously noted, a redistricting plan to balance enrollment will be required and will occur in early spring 2019.

A video of the presentation on the survey data is here:

Educational Master Facility Plan: Future Ready D36 Community Survey Results
Educational Master Facility Plan: Future Ready D36 Community Survey Results

Maureen Miller, Director of Technology, and Barry Rodgers, Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning, shared that in partnership with the Winnetka Public Schools Foundation (WPSF), the District has launched a Learning Space Design team. The team is supporting researching and developing prototype classrooms in each school, in addition to a Sensory Room at The Skokie School. These spaces include flexible furniture from a variety of vendors and research partners, various tech upgrades, and other improvements that align with current best practices in education. The team will examine the impact of environmental design on teaching and learning and use information gathered to help inform the Educational Master Facility Plan. 

Informational Memos

The District's five-year Strategic Plan (2015-2020) includes an annual renewal of District goals.  This year's Annual Goals are focused on the Educational Master Facility Plan, Inquiry-based learning, MTSS practices, special education, integrated technology, and community partnerships.  The goals were developed via an iterative process with District staff, administration, and the School Board based on feedback from various constituents and sources.

As communication is a key area of focus in the District's Strategic Plan, a summary of three-year accomplishments were shared.  In addition, communication plans to support District community connections were developed, including a plan specific to Future Ready D36.

 3. 2018 Summer Curriculum Work
This summer, a variety of teams of teachers met to conduct committee work to further the professional capacity of our staff and to further develop our curricular programming.  In all, 35 projects were completed and implemented for this school year. This summer engagement demonstrates the District's commitment to continuous improvement.
The Staff are welcomed back to campus in August with professional learning opportunities. This year, the focus of the Institute was "We Inspire." Teachers participated in grade level articulation, learned about policy/practice updates, and prepared curricular units in a collaborative setting.  96% of staff agreed that the outcomes of the days were valuable.

The September 4, 2018, student enrollment was at 1,612 in grades K-8.  This is about a 1.3% decline from last year and matches the demographic forecasts by Cropper.  Staffing remained relatively flat with a slight increase of 0.3% to support student-specific programming.

The District welcomed 110 students transferring into the schools for the 2018-2019 school year (excluding Kindergarten) and noted 64 students transferring out of the District in 2017-2018. About half of the students transferring out of District moved out-of-state. Many students transferring into the District came from local private schools and from out-of-state.

Following a 2nd read, a number of updated or new School Board policies were approved during the Consent Agenda portion of the School Board meeting. 

The Consent Agenda and the following Action Items were approved:

1. FY19 Final Budget
2.Adoption of School Board Policies and Resolution to Prohibit Sexual Harassment
3. Approval of 2018-2019 Annual Goals to Support 2015-2020 Strategic Plan

The Complete Board Packet for the September 25, 2018, School Board Meeting, containing all Memos and Presentations is here.
Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates

October 23, 2018
November 27, 2018
December 18, 2018
January 29, 2019

Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held at Hubbard Woods School from August 2018 through June 2019. 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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