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. 

Dr. Susan Pingitore, the District's Chief Financial Officer, announced she will be retiring at the end of this school year after four years of service to the Winnetka community. She has worked collaboratively with the administrative team, School Board, parents, and staff to ensure that financial decisions are always made in the best interest of students. We wish her the best as she ventures into retirement. The District initiated the search process for a new CFO this week.

Board President, Ms. Kendra Wallace, began the meeting by wishing the District's third grade pioneers safe journeys and thanking the administration for developing an interactive Differentiation Work Session for the Board on Saturday, January 24. Current and incoming Board members appreciated the thoughtful discussions and student videos.

Superintendent, Ms. Trisha Kocanda, described several learning experiences taking place this month. The Star Lab is in place at Greeley School and second grade students are exploring the constellations. Fifth and sixth graders kicked off a service project--making valentines for vets and deployed soldiers--by having a video chat with an Air Force emergency room doctor stationed in Afghanistan. Students across the District recognized Martin Luther King Day with discussions about the impact of his legacy. 

She also shared the sad news that Enid Golden, a Crow Island School associate,  passed away on January 20 of this year. Enid started working in Winnetka in 2004 and had been on leave for several years.

Ms. Kocanda noted that Illinois School Code Board communication policies have been updatedThe Policy Subcommittee will revise the District policy and present it for a first read at next month's meeting.


Superintendent, Ms. Trisha Kocanda, presented a mid-year report on the findings that emerged from over 65 meetings and the 200+ hours she spent with students, parents, staff, administration, community members, and School Board members during the past six months. She identified key themes and prioritized concepts that will be refined with input from stakeholders over the next three months. The concepts will be converted into articulated goals with accompanying action plans and presented to the Board, along with a shared vision statement, in May 2015. These will be used to replace and/or modify existing Strategic Plan goals. 

Technology Director, Ms. Maureen Chertow Miller, reviewed the three goals of the Mobile Learning Initiative and discussed options for measuring these outcomes:
  • Students will have increased opportunities for self-directed learning experiences.
  • Students will use technology to effectively initiate and engage in collaborative learning.
  • Students will be savvy, strategic, responsible and balanced users of technology. 
She put forth a recommendation to engage BrightBytes, an organization with research-based methods for measuring mobile learning initiatives. The data they collect will be used to evaluate student outcomes, measure progress toward goals, and inform future technology initiatives. The computer adaptive BrightByte surveys will be supplemented with student and staff interviews; classroom observations; and statistical analysis. An update will be presented at the June Board meeting.

A proposal for a District sponsored program designed to serve students with significant social/emotional needs was presented. The SOAR Program, (Social, Organizational, and Academic Readiness), will enable the District to offer increased services locally before considering out-of-district placements. A structured program with a social and emotional focus will also provide opportunities for bridging students who are currently placed in out-of-district programs back to the District. Director of Student Services, Ms. Beth Martin, recommended establishing a SOAR classroom at The Skokie School next year and revising the Carleton Washburne School program to provide more consistent social and emotional supports for students. 

Based on current enrollment, confirmed incoming kindergarten registrations, and outgoing eighth grade students, enrollment for next year is projected to drop by 3% from the current enrollment of 1,790 students to approximately 1,732 students. This estimate will be monitored to ensure that staffing and enrollment remain aligned. Dr. Maureen Hager, Director of Human Resources, will provide more details at the February 24, 2015, Board meeting. Programmatic changes and specials staffing will be discussed at future meetings.

The FY2015 budget adopted in September reflected the goals and direction of the District, the School Board's Financial Philosophy, and decisions made to allocate resources to support the instructional program. The amended budget reflects salary and benefit changes resulting from the new WEA contract as well as minor adjustment reflecting carryover money for special education services, and a reduction spending in the Capital Improvements Fund. The budget is on display in the District Office. A Budget Hearing will be scheduled for 7:00 p.m on March, 24, 2015.


Informational Memos

The Partnership Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a computer-based assessment replacing the ISAT, is on track to be administered to all students in grades 3-8 for math and English language arts/literacy in March and May of 2015. Staff is receiving training on how to administer the test, as well as preparation to help students become familiar with the PARCC technology platform, while the technology team is working to configure the computers and labs. 


The District will submit a waiver to the Illinois State Board of Education to request an exemption from the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) because the current assessment system is effective and designed to track the needs of Kindergarten students. A hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on February 24, 2015.


2. 2015-2016 School Calendar Recommendation

A draft of the 2015-2016 academic calendar was presented to the Board. It will be voted on at the February 24, 2015, Board meeting.


The Strategic Plan specifies that an annual survey be administered to measure and report progress related to satisfaction. To better analyze year-to-year results, there are no changes to questions recommended at this time. The survey is scheduled to be open from April 20, 2015, through May 1, 2015. 

The Administration recommends the continuation of the successful summer program with no change in fees. Ms. Meghan Warner, who served as Site Director last summer, will be the Program Director. Online registration will begin March 1, 2015. 


The Greeley School PTO has been working on Dream Green, an outdoor classroom project for more than four years. The District took responsibility for managing design, bidding, and construction. The project has been approved by the Village of Winnetka's Plan Commission, Design Review Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals, and unanimous approval was granted on January 20, 2015. Construction is scheduled to begin during Spring Break.


The District's three-year contract with North Shore Transportation expires at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. A recommendation to renew the contract (with a 3.25% increase) was presented.

Each January the School Board receives a copy of the Budget Calendar for the next school year. The Board then provides authorization to move forward with the preparation of the budget. The Calendar aligns with staff planning and decision making that need to occur over the coming months.


The 10-year Life Safety Survey and Deferred Maintenance Plan will be presented at the February 24, 2015, Board meeting. Authorization to begin development of a construction timetable and bid specifications for two high priority projects identified by the District's architectural and engineering firms--rebuilding The Skokie School chimney and repairing the school's front entrance--was requested so that these projects can be completed this summer. 


Action Items


The Consent Agenda and following action items were approved.


1. Bus Contract Renewal
2. Adopt FY2015 Tentative Amended Budget & Establish Budget Hearing
3. Adopt Resolution Directing Preparation of the FY2016 Budget 
4. Authorization for the CFO/CSBO to seek bids for The Skokie School Summer Projects
5. Accept Contract with Team Reil for the Dream Green project at Greeley School
6. Approve Phase I Implementation of a District-Sponsored Social Emotional Program 


 meetingdates Upcoming Regular Meeting Dates
February 24, 2015
April 28, 2015
March 24, 2015
May 18, 2015

June 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.
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