Costa Rica Science Trip
Discussed at the Eastland Board of Education Meeting
President Bill Woessner called to order the Regular Meeting of the Eastland Board of Education for September 18, 2013. The Board approved the Treasurer’s Report and the payments of all bills and claims for the month. They also approved the minutes of the Special and Regular Meetings of August 21, 2013, and the ISBE Application for Recognition of Schools.
During Board Input, the Board discussed plans for the state convention to be held November 22-24, 2013, the status of mandatory board trainings, plans for the Illinois Association of School Boards Northwest Division Dinner on September 19th at Lake Carroll, and the Special West Carroll Board Meeting on the 1% School Facilities Sales Tax held on September 4th in Thomson.
The Board discussed a tentative agenda for their Fall Strategic Planning Retreat scheduled for Wednesday, October 2nd. The meeting will start at 4:00 p.m. with a break for dinner at 5:30.
Continuing, the Board approved the proposal from Prowant Construction for $29,820 to extend the Shannon Bus Garage by 6 feet, and to install new overhead garage doors large enough to park full-sized buses in the bays. The improvements will reduce miles traveled and transportation costs for buses serving the north end of the district, and will also provide weather-tight storage space for the Eastland Elementary in Shannon.
Bill Woessner discussed preliminary discussions between the Board of Education and the FFA and FFA Alumni advisors on plans to share profits or cash rent the 36 acres of farmland east of Lanark. A formal proposal will be presented at the Regular October meeting. Superintendent Hansen shared a report on Facility Improvement Projects for 2013-14.
The Board Curriculum Committee Report was presented as an informational item. The committee heard a presentation from Bonnie Dertz, junior high science teacher, about a proposed educational trip to Costa Rica in the summer of 2015.
As presented, the science trip to Costa Rica would be through a company called World Strides, and students would be allowed to fund-raise to generate an estimated $2,600 to cover their costs of the trip. Costa Rica is known for its bio-diversity, and the trip is designed as an exploration of that diversity. Superintendent Hansen shared some responses to questions posed to the school attorney about such a trip; he is still waiting for responses from the District’s insurance provider about coverages and possible riders to policies. The Board will discuss the trip further at their October Retreat, and action will be scheduled for the Regular October meeting.
The administration provided reports on past District curriculum initiatives, including updates on math outcomes, Physics First, AP courses, intervention/enrichment block, and Developmental English.
The administration provided updates on current District curriculum initiatives, including the expansion of the 3rd grade keyboarding curriculum, the introduction of Sociology as a high school course, and the implementation of eight (8) exploratory STEM courses in grades 7-8.
The administration shared information on student utilization of the Whiteside Area Career Center. Dr. Hansen asked the Board to evaluate whether a greater percentage of Eastland students should be using the WACC programming. This topic will be evaluated in the months to come.
Dr. Hansen explained the administration’s three-pronged approach to raising the percentage of students meeting College Readiness Benchmarks: increase the use of instructional strategies that engage students, align the K-12 curriculum to the Common Core State Standards, and ensure that intense instructional interventions are provided to students who are not meeting those standards.
The administrators discussed possible curriculum initiatives for 2014-15:
A. the possibility of “weighting” grades for Advanced Placement Courses
B. adding a rigorous, senior level math course in addition to AP Calculus
C. possibly changing Board policy on units of accredited online coursework that students can take and apply toward graduation requirements
No specific recommendations were made at this time. Principals will work with building level teams to evaluate and provide input on any proposals generated by the committee.
Superintendent Hansen shared a rough draft of a Fall Newsletter to be published and distributed as an insert in the Prairie Advocate. The goal is to publish the Newsletter in early October.
Principal Feltmeyer presented a 1st draft of a Principal Induction/Mentoring Plan. As a Race to the Top district, Eastland is required to have a formal plan in place for first and second year principals. Board approval of the plan will be scheduled for October. The Board also approved a field trip request for FFA members to attend the National Convention this fall.
As a final item, Superintendent Hansen shared performance goals for the year as agreed upon with the building principals:
2013-14 Principal Performance Goals, Monica Burkholder: EJSHS Principal:
Goal #1: Teacher use of instructional strategies that elicit “student learning conversations” and “student active engaged learning” will increase from 2012-13 as evidenced from data taken during formal observations conducted using the Instructional Practices Inventory.
Goal #2: The use of Learning Lab to provide intervention/enrichment for students will improve as observed during random walk-throughs using the IPI.
Goal #3: The Principal and high school staff will develop and present to the Board of Education a plan for improving the percentage of students on track to meet College-Readiness Benchmarks at grades 9, 10 and 11.
2013-14 Principal Performance Goals, Darcie Feltmeyer: EES Principal:
Goal #1: Teacher use of instructional strategies that elicit “student active engaged learning” and “student learning conversations” will increase from 2012-13 as evidenced from data taken during formal observations conducted using the Instructional Practices Inventory.
Goal #2: Walk-through observations of the RtI/Enrichment Block will show an increase in the percentage of students participating in engaged learning activities as observed in random walk-throughs using the IPI.
Goal #3: The principal and her staff will increase the % of students exiting 6th grade on track as evidenced by meeting or exceeding state standards in reading and math as measured by the ISAT.
The Board approved a motion to enter closed session at 7:47 p.m. to discuss:
The appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the District or legal counsel for the District, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee or against legal counsel for the District to determine its validity; security procedures and the use of personnel and equipment to respond to an actual, a threatened, or a reasonably potential danger to the safety of employees, students, staff, the public, or public property”; and student disciplinary cases
The Board exited closed session at 8:26 p.m. and approved the following actions:
Approved the hire of Kelsey Pierce as a long-term substitute teacher for the 5th Grade maternity leave for eight (8) weeks from February – Spring Break, 2014; Approved continuing to post a vacancy for a teaching tutor for a student with a home-hospital individualized educational plan; Approved the re-assignment of Tonya Joens from a part-time building aide to a full-time 1-to-1 aide; Approved the hire of Rebecca Green as a part-time building aide; Approved the resignation of Rachel Todd as Jr. High Student Council Advisor for 2013-14. They then approved the assignment of Josh Ehlers as Jr. High Student Council Advisor; Approved Keegan Blasing and Riley Asche as Jr. High Football Volunteers for the 2013 season; Approved [Deana Wilcynski] as a substitute kitchen and office aide.