Here’s what’s going on at District 205

By Chris Fox

The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board held a regular meeting on Oct. 18 at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York St. All seven board members attended the meeting.

Emerson celebrates students who achieve goals

The meeting included a presentation about Emerson Elementary School’s program to celebrate students who achieve individual goals. Principal Sheleen DeLockery and assistant principal Jessica Chmura described how students set, monitor, celebrate and fine-tune goals. Students who achieve their goals are recognized and presented certificates at school. Those students’ pictures are posted in the school’s Goal Getter Hall of Fame.

Public forum draws question about literacy

The speakers during the meeting’s public-participation segment included Jammie Esker Schaer, who asked why the district purchased a literacy program that she said did not have a dual-language component. Esker Schaer added that she planned to run for a seat on the District 205 Board in 2023. The four-year terms of four board members—Christopher Kocinski, Courtenae Trautmann, Beth Hosler and Karen Stuefen—expire next year.

Campbell offers overview of performance assessments

The meeting included an overview of assessments of measures of student performance. Superintendent Keisha Campbell noted that the district’s teachers and administration continually collect and analyze data in an effort to guide and improve future instruction.

ISBE ‘report card’ coming soon

Scott Grens, the district’s associate superintendent of schools, stated that the Illinois State Board of Education would release its 2022 Illinois Report Card data on Oct. 27.

Presentation on math instruction

The meeting also featured a presentation regarding math instruction in the district. According to the presentation, District 205 students are consistently meeting grade-level expectations in math at higher rates than students across the state. In an effort to improve instruction and achievement in math, the district proposed working with a service provider—New Teacher Center—to perform a math instruction review. The cost of working with New Teacher Center would reportedly be $47,000. According to the district, conducting the review would allow the district to establish a multi-year strategy to support achievement in math from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Board members did not vote on the proposal during the meeting. Board member Jim Collins said he was “underwhelmed” by New Teacher Center’s level of sophistication.

Four new courses considered for York

The meeting included a presentation about four new courses presented for adoption at York High School for the 2023-24 school year. Those courses are: Project Lead the Way: Engineering Design and Development-Honors; Journalism and New Media; Advanced Placement Spanish Literature and Culture; and Business Accelerator-Honors. The board will reportedly vote to approve those courses at next month’s regular meeting.

Daniels presents communications plan

Tonya Daniels, the district’s executive director of communications and community relations, gave a presentation during the meeting about the district’s communications plans. Daniels said the district’s communications team is focused on an increased attention to community engagement. The district plans to implement a drastic increase in videos, along with photography of events, programs and activities at the district’s schools. Those videos and photos will be shared on the district’s social media channels. Additionally the district will communicate to district residents through its direct mail newsletter, which will be mailed to residents four times per year.

District’s medical, dental plans approved for 2023

Board members voted unanimously to approve the renewal of the district’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield medical and dental plans for the 2023 calendar year. Chris Whelton, the district’s assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said that 2022 has been a challenging year, and that claims have risen this year. He said the original 2023 medical plan featured a 13.5 increase, but the district’s insurance committee and district employees worked to cut that increase (from 2022 to 2023) to 6.5 percent. The dental plan for 2023 won’t include any increase from 2022, as claims have remained steady. According to the district, its 2022 medical and prescription drug budget in 2022 was about $14.3 million. The district’s 2023 medical and prescription drug budget is projected to be about $15.2 million.

School enrollment has risen slightly

Whelton also provided the district’s updated student enrollment numbers, as of Sept. 30, 2022. The Illinois State Board of Education requires each district to conduct an enrollment count on Sept. 30 of each year. The latest figures show the district with a total enrollment of 8,292 students, up from 8,178 one year earlier. The enrollment at York High School is currently 2,700, down from 2,744 one year ago. The current enrollment at Madison Early Childhood Center is 305. There are 3,483 K-5 students in the district, and 1,804 middle-school (grades 6-8) students.

The board will hold its next regular meeting on Nov. 15.

 

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