Board of Education Briefs for January 11, 2016

Board of Education Briefs for January 11, 2016

North High students (l-r) Hannah Krusenoski, Christian Clements and Abby Testin, with Principal Scott Kasik, share information about the first “DGN Gives Back Day”

The District 99 Board of Education held a workshop meeting on January 11, 2016. Highlights from the meeting include:

Student Perspectives

North High students Hannah Krusenoski, Christian Clements and Abby Testin shared information about the first “DGN Gives Back Day” that over 75 students participated in last fall. Student volunteers were dispatched simultaneously to organizations throughout the local community, each of which planned service projects for the students to work on. Junior Abby Testin explained how the day was patterned after the national Make a Difference Day (, whose mission is to improve the lives of others through service.

Along with her fellow soccer teammates, junior Hannah Krusenoski helped to paint apartments for the housing program at DuPage PADS. With his Spanish classmates, junior Christian Clements visited Advocate Health Good Samaritan Hospital to paint murals to brighten temporary entryways during the hospital’s construction project. Other participating organizations included the Downers Grove LibraryFamily Shelter Services, Providence Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and Sharing Connections.

“Community service is viewed as being boring and not entertaining, but we made it into something cool,” reported Clements. “It’s nice to know we could brighten someone else’s day.”

To see a video recap of the day, please click here.

School Calendar

Superintendent Dr. Mark McDonald reported that work continues on evaluating the potential of adopting an early start calendar for the 2016-17 school year. A committee has been established, and will review the research gathered by administration, including the survey input from over 1,500 parents, students and staff members. Dr. McDonald reported that he has been in touch with elementary schools to update them on the district’s discussions and progress. A recommendation will be made by February 1.

Master Facility Plan

District 99 administration has been in the process of developing a Master Facility Plan for South High and North High, and a vision for how its facilities should evolve in the future. At its meeting in October 2015, the Board of Education expressed the desire to discuss and prioritize the projects that the administration has identified as areas to improve.

Before the prioritization process began, North High Principal Scott Kasik and South High Principal Ed Schwartz provided additional information about why an Instructional Commons Space is needed and how it would function. Students at both schools are limited to the cafeterias, libraries and hallways to perform group work and to socialize. An Instructional Commons, which is an integral component of the current plan at both schools, is a large, open space that would support the 1:1 Learning environment, and be equipped with recharging stations as well as comfortable and flexible furnishings. Students would also have easy access to all school life services, such as student activities, deans and counselors in a centrally supervised area. Open for students before, during and after school, the space would support the new, more collaborative ways in which students learn and study in groups.

Schwartz reported that his colleagues at other schools in the area, including York, Addison Trail and Willowbrook, have seen a positive impact on school culture and student behavior as a result of building a commons space, since it gives students an area they want to occupy.

Associate Principals Dr. Ken Sorensen (North High) and Omar Davis (South High) then reviewed the process used to create the plans, and how input was gathered from staff, students and community members. They then described how themes that emerged from the input are directly reflected in the plan.

Director of Facilities Jim Kolodziej and Wight architect Craig Siepka began the prioritization process, providing members with a list of projects that have been identified for both North High and South High, including budget allocations. Board members discussed each line item and individually allocated a priority number: 1 (high priority), 2 (medium priority) and 3 (lower importance).

The administration will study the feedback gathered as part of the ongoing process for refining the plan.

Click here to see a video of the meeting

Upcoming Board Meetings:

·        January 25, 2016 – Board of Education Business Meeting at ASC, 7:30 p.m.

·        February 1, 2016 – Board of Education Workshop Meeting at ASC, 7 p.m.

·        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.