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Board Highlights                                                                                   November 18, 2014 Meeting



   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. 

The Winnetka Public Schools Board of Education and The Winnetka Education Association (WEA) are pleased to announce that they have agreed on terms of a five-year contract. The Board unanimously approved the contract at their monthly meeting on November 18, 2014.


Bargaining teams for the School Board and the WEA worked together with the shared goal of crafting an agreement that continues to provide students with high quality educational experiences. This extended agreement will provide years of continuity and support for the community, staff, and students. 
Board President, Ms. Kendra Wallace, opened the meeting by thanking staff for their hard work during the recent successful contract negotiations. She went on to say that this is an especially busy time in District schools and encouraged attendees to take part in holiday celebrations and performances.

Superintendent, Ms. Trisha Kocanda, presented the Board with cards from all five schools in recognition of School Board Appreciation Day. She thanked the volunteer Board for their many hours of service to students and the community. She noted that one of the Board's most important tasks is establishing a contract with the Winnetka Education Association (WEA) and expressed her gratitude to both the Board and staff members who invested 13 months in the negotiation process. 

Ms. Kocanda highlighted some of the activities that will be taking place in District schools during National Computer Science Week (December 9-15). The Winnetka Public Schools will be participating in an Hour of Code on December 10, 2014. This international learning event is dedicated to expanding participation in computer science.

She concluded with an Entry Plan update; her work is proceeding on schedule. In November and December she will be meeting with parents and verifying staff input by conducting follow-up meetings at each building.


Representatives of Miller, Cooper & Co. Ltd., presented the audit for the 2014 fiscal year. Standard auditing practices were employed and District 36 received a clean audit; no material deficits or material weaknesses were identified. The District maintained its Financial Recognition status (highest honor) from the Illinois State Board of Education. 

2. School/District Improvement Plans
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Ms. Alison Hawley, provided an overview of the District and School Improvement Plans for the 2014-2015 school year, noting that the planning process begins with a review of past performance. District Math goals include improving computational fluency and mathematical practices, and monitoring the effectiveness of the curriculum. The District has a single English Language Arts (ELA) Goal focused on improving student access to a broader range of fiction and non-fiction resources in K-8 classrooms and enhancing the range of text complexities. 

Building principals presented Math and ELA goals for the School Improvement Plans:
  • Students in grades 1-6 will demonstrate an increased understanding and use of the Standards for Mathematical Practice that are supported by the implementation of the District's math curriculum and materials. 
  • Students in grades 7-8 will demonstrate an increased understanding and use of mathematical practices that are supported by the implementation of the District's math curriculum and materials. This will include specific problem solving tasks.
  • Students in grades 1-8 will demonstrate growth in opinion/argument writing. They will learn that a key purpose of writing is to communicate clearly to an external audience and learn to adapt their writing to accomplish a certain task and purpose. 
Director of Student Services, Ms. Beth Martin, reviewed the District's Special Education Program and its goals--providing quality services based on eligibility and needs while encouraging independence, and complying with federal regulations. She explained that Response to Intervention (RtI) is a related general education initiative that brings needed supports to students as quickly as possible. Ms. Martin will be presenting updates throughout the year and a three-year plan this spring.

4. 2014 Tentative Tax Levy 
CFO, Dr. Susan Pingitore, presented four options for the 2014 Tax Levy. All four supported the District's academic programs and provided tax relief for Winnetka residents. The Board agreed to approve a tentative levy that includes a $4 million reduction. This is in keeping with the Financial Philosophy of not asking the community for money when it is not needed and provides long-term property tax relief. The Tax Levy will be presented for approval at a Hearing on on December 16, 2014.

CFO, Dr. Susan Pingitore, introduced Ms. Elizabeth Hennessy of William Blair & Company who presented three options for using surplus tax dollars to retire debt. The Board agreed that the plan to retire existing debt early is sound and determined that further study is needed before selecting the best option. The Financial Subcommittee will continue to discuss this matter and report back to the full Board.

Informational Memos

The Administration recommended not offering a District Junior Kindergarten (JK) program for the 2015-2016 school year. Program options will be studied and presented to the Board in conjunction with the future Special Education Plan and Strategic Plan revisions.

2. Assessment Audit Update
Components of the Audit were reviewed. A report will be provided at the December 16, 2014, School Board meeting. 

The District's bargaining representatives reached agreement on a five-year contract (with retroactive application as of August 27, 2014, and extending to August 31, 2019) following more than 13 months of discussions with The Winnetka Education Association (WEA), the bargaining representative of the faculty, associates, and entrance monitors. Salary increases over the life of the contract will average 4.88% annually. The overall cost increase, when factoring in all features of the contract, is 3% and is aligned with the School Board's financial philosophy.


4. Crow Island Stewardship Report (Gift Donation)

In celebration of the school's upcoming 75th anniversary in 2015, the Crow Island Stewardship Group is commissioning a Historic Structures Report for the purpose of informing future facility work and maintenance of the historically significant school. There will be no cost to The Winnetka Public Schools for this report.


Additional philosophical and research information related to the proposed math materials was shared. The Avoca and Sunset Ridge school districts have confirmed that they are interested in piloting and selecting materials collaboratively with District 36. An update, including a revised timeline, will be presented at the December 16, 2014, Board meeting.


North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) proposed a restructured fee schedule resulting in reduced costs for some school districts, including The Winnetka Public Schools. Based on this change, District 112 postponed their withdrawal from NSSED. 

7. 2014-2015 Board Planning Calendar
An updated calendar was included in the Board packet.
The Policy Subcommittee brought forth a recommendation to adopt one new policy and update 27 others. These were submitted to the Board for a second read prior to approval. 

Action Items


The Consent Agenda and following action items were approved.


1. Adoption of Recommended Policy Updates
2. Winnetka Educators Association Collective Bargaining Agreement
3. Crow Island Gift Acceptance 

5. Tentative Tax Levy
6. Resignation Release and Agreement between a certified teacher and the Board of Education
7. Amendment #1 to Custodial Contract for 2013-2018 


 meetingdates Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
December 16, 2014March 24, 2015
4:45 p.m. Work Session
7:00 p.m Tax Levy Public Hearing
April 28, 2015
January 27, 2015May 18, 2015
February 24, 2015June 9, 2015


Regular meetings are open to the public and will be held in the Hubbard Woods 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.
The Winnetka Public Schools | 847-446-9400 | marciasutter@winnetka36.org | http://www.winnetka36.org
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Winnetka, IL 60093
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