Board of Education Briefs from the October 5, 2015 Workshop

South High students from the DGS Earth Action Club

South High students from the DGS Earth Action Club presented their idea to bring an alternative energy source to the school

The District 99 Board of Education held a workshop meeting on October 5, 2015. Highlights from the meeting include:

·        South High students from the DGS Earth Action Club, including Shana Johnson, Swathi Pillalamarri, Bobby Major, Leanna Ivanova, Max O’Meara and Lauren Gleason, presented their idea to bring an alternative energy source to the school. Motivated by a concern of rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in our environment, the students want to bring solar power to South High by installing a solar panel system. Benefits will include raising the awareness of the school’s environmental sustainability efforts and incorporating lessons from the system into biology, chemistry and physics classes. The students explained that many other schools in the surrounding areas have similar systems, and that South High could save 93 kWh in energy per month. Students are pursuing a grant, which will cover 90% of the $8,000 system. To see details of the plan, please click here.

·        Social Studies Department Chairs Jenne Dehmlow (North) and Chris Esposito (South) are leading the effort to install a dedicated memorial peace garden at each school, which will honor the 70 young alumni who lost their lives while serving our country and serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices that were made.


The Forest Street Circle at North High and West Events Entrance at South High have been identified as locations for the gardens. Positioned within each garden will be low-profile “peace poles,” inscribed with the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in multiple languages. The schools expect a $25,000 donation of labor and plants, and will fundraise for the balance of $50,000 for both gardens. The goal is to install the gardens and celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Memorial Day 2016. For details about the proposed memorial gardens and to see architectural renderings, please click here.

·        Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Gina Ziccardi explained that although districts are no longer required to file school improvement plans with the state, District 99 will continue to focus on the annual goals set forth by the Board of Education. In terms of college readiness testing, it is still uncertain whether the state will fund the ACT or SAT. Regardless, District 99 will fund the ACT in the spring for all juniors. The PARCC Test will once again be given to students enrolled in Math 1 and English 1 courses.

Ziccardi also reported about student achievement:

o   The district’s ACT composite score was 22.6 for the Class of 2015, slightly down from 22.8 the year before, but still ahead of both state (21.0) and national (20.7) averages.

o   On the ACT, a greater percentage of students scored 20 or higher in math (70.9%) than the previous year (66.8%).

o   The percent of students completing one Advanced Placement or honors course continued to rise, from 44.4% of all students to 46.1% in 2014-15.

o   The percent of AP tests earning a 3, 4 or 5 score remained high at 82.3%; Ziccardi said this was notable given the increasing rigor of the tests over the years.

Ziccardi also outlined the numerous programs, including those in literacy and math, in place to support students in managing the more challenging courses.

Associate Principals for Curriculum and Instruction Janice Schwarze (North) and Georgia Hash (South) provided data findings specific to their schools. The growth in honors and AP classes continues at both schools, which administrators credited to marketing efforts and connections with District 99’s associated elementary and middle schools.

To read the detailed Student Learning Report, please click here.

To find additional information from the meeting:


Upcoming Board Meetings (public session times shown):

  • October 19, 2015 – Board of Education Meeting at the ASC, 7:30 p.m.
  • November 2, 2015 – Board of Education Workshop at the ASC, 7 p.m.
  • November 16, 2015 – Board of Education Meeting at the ASC, 7:30 p.m.

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