Board Briefs: August 2020

The District 58 Board of Education held a regular business meeting on Monday, August 10, 2020 at the Downers Grove Village Hall and via YouTube livestream. View the agenda and presentation links and access the meeting video. Highlights from the meeting include:

Discussion: Return to Learn Plan Update

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell and the administrative team provided an update on the Return to Learn Plan, including current enrollment data, start and end times, and next steps for planning and staffing.

Currently, about 75% of families that responded selected onsite learning for their children, and 23% selected the Online Academy. Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Learning Dr. James Eichmiller reported that 4,980 students are currently registered to attend school in-district but only 4,207 commitment responses were received to date. Those families who did not respond will have their students assigned to on-site learning. The District will contact all registered families to confirm their selection. 

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Justin Sisul provided an update on start and end times. These schedules, as well as schedules for transition days on Sept.1-9, were shared with families last week. There were challenges in creating the schedule, including transportation, as District 58 shares buses with District 99; staggered arrival and dismissal plans being developed at the building level; and overall length of on-site time for students without serving a meal. The Online Academy instructional day will be completed between 8:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Next steps over the next two weeks include:

  • Further curriculum development work so that all students follow the same scope and sequence regardless of learning model. The Math Committee has discussed math acceleration models and will share them with building administrators this week.
  • Building-level details regarding instructional spaces and procedures.
  • Developing schedules for special education students in both on-site and remote programming, and scheduling IEP and 504 follow-up meetings to create individual temporary plans.
  • Confirming staffing for on-site learning, Online Academy, substitutes, bus monitors and a remote learning contingency.

Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Dr. Jayne Yudzentis reported that she has been meeting with individual employees regarding medical certifications that may qualify them for a medical leave of absence or appropriate accommodations, childcare or Families First Coronavirus Response Act leave requests, and other individual circumstances.

Before and after school care will continue to be provided by Champions, and the District continues to coordinate with the Downers Grove Park District and KinderCare for additional childcare options. 

The District is awaiting updated guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the DuPage County Health Department regarding the specific metrics they will use to determine when a school or district will be shut down, as well as clarification of their guidance on when students or staff must be excluded from school. The administration is not recommending any changes to the Return to Learn Plan at this time, but will continue to monitor the situation as further guidance or information could force the District to pivot to a full remote model. Currently, only 13 of 44 districts in DuPage County are going fully remote.

View the presentation.

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Russell provided the Board with information and updates, including:

  • COVID-19 and Recent Events: Dr. Russell thanked the community, students and staff for their patience, flexibility and civility during this challenging time. The District will continue to follow the guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and the state and county health departments to make informed decisions. 
  • Curriculum: The Return to Learn Plan was sent out to all families and the deadline for selecting an option was Monday at noon. Last week, families and staff received an FAQ, and the District hosted a YouTube Live event last Wednesday to answer questions.
  • Finance: The tentative budget will be presented at a special board meeting on Aug. 24; final approval is scheduled for a special meeting on Sept. 28.
  • Facilities: Summer projects and deep cleaning continue at schools in preparation for the return of staff and students. The gym floor at Highland has been completed.
  • Special Services: The hiring process for the administrative team will be complete upon the appointment of a new Behavioral Support Systems Coordinator.
  • Technology: New devices are being distributed to students and staff. iPads ordered after the July board meeting have not yet arrived, but are expected in the coming weeks so that devices can be ready for kindergarten students. Several services, including PowerSchool (student information system) and Destiny (library catalog) have been migrated from on-premise to hosted solutions as part of a long-term plan to simplify on-premise storage needs. The website migration will be completed in the coming weeks.

Business Report

Assistant Superintendent for Business Todd Drafall reported that an adjusted Year-to-Date report for June 30 has been shared with the board. Adjustments were due to grants received that needed to be posted to the previous fiscal year. 

Committee Reports

President Darren Hughes reported on the June 12 Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) meeting. The FAC discussed the impact of a decreasing Consumer Price Index on the District’s long term budget. The Facilities Master Plan is still on hold due to the pandemic, but operational needs still exist in all buildings.

The District Leadership Team, Policy Committee, Legislative Committee and Health and Wellness Committee have not met since the last Board meeting.

During the Meeting, the Board also:

  • Approved minutes from the July 13 Regular Meeting and July 30 Special Meeting.
  • Approved all items presented in the consent agenda, including the appointment of Lauren Hartelius as Behavioral Support Systems Coordinator.
  • Approved the amended school calendar for 2020-21.
  • Adopted policy 5:222, Tutoring/Professional Service Providers. View policy.
  • Designated hazardous areas for 2020-21, which makes students who reside within the designated areas eligible for fee-based transportation services even though they live within the one and one-half mile limit.

View memo.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.: Budget Workshop (location TBD)
  • Monday, Aug. 31 at 3:45 p.m.: District Leadership Team meeting (location TBD)
  • Friday, Sept. 4 at 7 a.m.: Financial Advisory Committee Meeting via Zoom
  • Monday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.: Regular Board Meeting at the Downers Grove Village Hall

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