Board Briefs: January 2023

board briefs January 2023

The District 58 Board of Education held a Regular Meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023 at O’Neill Middle School. View the agenda. View the meeting video on the District 58 YouTube page.

Featured School: Herrick Middle School 

The Herrick Student Council led the Board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and presented some of the recent school activities they’ve led. PTA President Kristin Noonan highlighted some of the PTA’s initiatives, including Fortnightly dance lessons and VIP Day, as well as the end-of-year celebrations, field trips and other programs they fund to support Herrick students. Principal Dr. David Norman and Assistant Principal Samantha Inglima reviewed Herrick’s recent assessment results. They noted that while Herrick met its overall growth targets, they are continuously looking for ways to improve. Using data, they identified vocabulary as an area for growth and incorporated vocabulary enhancements into a School Improvement Plan goal for this school year. Herrick is also using 5Essentials Survey data for feedback and improvements. View the Herrick presentation. 

Spotlight on our Schools: Education Foundation

Community Relations Coordinator Megan Hewitt reported on the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58’s recent fundraisers and programs. She noted that the Foundation recently awarded 23 teacher grants worth more than $22,0000 -- double last year’s award. These grants will be used to enhance student learning.

The Foundation raises money through the following fundraisers: Harlem Wizards, Grove Express, Oktoberfest and Green Apple Awards. This funding supports student learning services and resources, through the Teacher Grants Program, as well as a variety of student and staff programs, including Sneak Preview, Select 58, Distinguished Service Awards, The Reading Games and the New Teacher Luncheon, among others. Click here to view the presentation.

Approval: 2023-24 School Year Calendar

The Board approved the District 58 2023-24 school year calendar. To maximize the summer 2024 construction window, the calendar eliminates some single days off, while maintaining typical break periods in alignment with District 99.

Highlights include:

  • First Day of School: Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 22-24, 2023
  • Winter Break: Dec. 25, 2023-Jan. 5, 2024
  • Spring Break: March 25-29, 2024
  • Last Day of School: Friday, May 24 (if no emergency days are used)

View the 2023-24 school year calendar.

Approval: Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Appointment

The Board approved the appointment of Justin Sisul as the District’s assistant superintendent for personnel, effective July 1, 2023. Sisul has worked in District 58 for more than 21 years. He currently serves as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, a role he’s held with distinction since 2017. Previously, he served as the principal of Pierce Downer School, as an assistant principal and administrative intern at Lester School, and as a music teacher and choir director at Herrick Middle School.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell congratulated Mr. Sisul on the appointment and noted his qualifications. Dr. Russell also thanked the current assistant superintendent for personnel, Dr. Jayne Yudzentis, who is retiring this summer after 22 dedicated years of service to District 58.

Learn more.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Russell provided several updates, including:

MAP and AIMSweb Testing: The winter benchmark testing period is taking place now through Jan. 20. All students in grades K-8 will take the Reading and Math MAP test, and many students will also take the AIMSweb Plus assessment. Individual student reports will be sent home by the end of the month, and staff will review student data at a dedicated time during an upcoming Professional Learning Monday session. Districtwide data will be shared with the Board next month.

Registration: The Technology, Community Relations and Business offices are preparing for the 2023-24 student registration process and are aiming to open registration in late February, with a deadline prior to spring break.

Grove Children’s Preschool: District 58’s gold-rated preschool program, Grove Children’s Preschool, will host an open house next month to give prospective families the opportunity to see the classroom spaces and meet staff. 2023-24 preschool registration will also open next month. More details will be shared soon.

School Maintenance Project Grant: District 58 applied for and received the State’s School Maintenance Project Grant. This is a 50/50 match grant for up to $50,000 and will be used on flooring asbestos abatement at Henry Puffer School this summer. This grant is an example of the District’s commitment to securing additional revenue for projects to help ease the burden on taxpayers.

Facility Visioning Sessions: District 58 will hold staff and community Facility Visioning Sessions on Monday, Jan. 30 at O’Neill Middle School. These meetings will help inform stakeholders about the District’s draft post-referendum facility plans and to gain their feedback prior to finalizing those plans. To attend, please RSVP by Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Business Report 

Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall reported that revenues and expenditures are as expected. The District concluded its initial bond issuance of $140 million for facility work at the end of December 2022. He noted that these are tax exempt bonds, so the District is limited in the amount of interest it can receive from them. District 58 will work with its financial adviser to ensure it receives the maximum amount of interest income permitted.

Committee Reports 

Vice President Gregory Harris reported on the Dec. 13 Policy Committee meeting.  The committee reviewed policy manual updates recommended by the Illinois Association of School Board’s PRESS service. The Policy Committee made updates to 39 policies, in accordance with PRESS. The Board completed a first reading of these policies and will vote to approve them at next month’s meeting.

Member Emily Hanus reported on the Jan. 4 Legislative Committee meeting.  The committee discussed question topics for the upcoming Legislative Breakfast, which will take place on Feb. 3.

President Darren Hughes reported on the Jan. 6 Financial Advisory Committee meeting. The committee discussed the recent bond sale proceeds, post-referendum facility work process, food provider bid process, school fees, fund balance policy and the medical reserve fund. Member Steven Olczyk added that the committee discussed options regarding the food provider bid process, including exploring the feasibility of expanding food service options. He also noted how District 58, as outlined in its financial plan, is providing dedicated annual funding to capital projects.

The Board’s other committees have not met since the last Board meeting.

During the Meeting, the Board Also:

  • Approved minutes from the Dec. 12 business meeting.
  • Approved all contents in the consent agenda.

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 3:45 p.m.: Legislative Committee Meeting at O’Neill
  • Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 a.m.: Legislative Breakfast at O’Neill
  • Monday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at Downers Grove Village Hall

District 58 Board of Education members are: Darren Hughes, president; Gregory Harris, vice president; Kirat Doshi, Melissa Ellis, Emily Hanus, Steven Olczyk and Tracy Weiner, with Dr. Kevin Russell, superintendent; and Melissa Jerves, board secretary.