Board of Education Briefs for February 1, 2016

Board of Education Briefs for February 1, 2016

South High students (l-r) Beatrice Bierne, Gabrielle Henderson, and Uriel Ugalde, with DGS Principal Schwartz and Social Studies Department Chair Dr. Chris Esposito, presented to the Board of Education on February 1.

The District 99 Board of Education held a special meeting on February 1, 2016. Highlights from the meeting include:

Student Perspectives

Three South High students who just finished the semester-long course “Multicultural Studies in American Society” shared highlights of what they had learned with the Board. The social studies course ran for the first time last semester, and was taught by DGS Social Studies Department Chair Dr. Chris Esposito.

The course covered the experiences of a variety of ethnic groups in the U.S. including African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native-Americans, Arab-Americans and White-Americans, and their impact on political movements and economic developments. 

Senior Uriel Ugalde said that the class learned about racism in society through textbooks and documentaries. “We found the truth in things and what racism is, and how we can get past it by sharing it,” he said. 

Senior Gabrielle Henderson appreciated the in-depth view of the challenges that each group faces, and what society is like for certain groups. 

Senior Beatrice Bierne said for her the class was “life altering,” and made her a more forward-thinking person about how people interact with one another in our society.  

2016-17 School Calendar

Superintendent Dr. Mark McDonald reviewed the advantages and drawbacks of a calendar where the semester ends before winter break. Please click here to see the slides that were presented; please click here to read the detailed report. It was recommended that the Board adopt a “traditional” calendar for 2016-17, and the Board voted unanimously to adopt this schedule. The first day of school will be Monday, August 29 and the first semester will end on January 20, 2017, after winter break.

Please click here to see the approved 2016-17 calendar.

In addition, the majority of the Board members expressed a desire to adopt a calendar for 2017-18 that will have the first semester ending before the winter break, while also adhering as closely as possible to the school calendars of associated elementary school districts. The Board members also discussed final exams and the impact of exams on the schedule. The administration will present a proposed 2017-18 calendar at the May 2 workshop meeting.


Community members Barry Ketchmark and Nihal Isaac spoke in favor of a calendar where final exams are given before winter break. Community member Hilary Denk offered suggestions about surveying elementary schools about the calendar and also thanked the Board for eliminating fees for student activities.

Please click here to see a video of the meeting

Please click here to see the full agenda and supporting documents

Upcoming Board Meetings:

  • February 22, 2016 – Board of Education Business Meeting at ASC, 7:30 p.m.

This publication is for information purposes only; minutes approved by the Board serve as the official meeting record.