Summary of December 17, 2019 Board of Education Meeting

Summary of December 17, 2019 Board of Education Meeting



Recognizing of Honor Band Students:

The Board recognized the Homer 33C Honor Band Students, who qualified to participate in the Illinois Music Education Association Elementary and Junior High Division annual District 1 Music Festival Concert:  Anna DiFilippo - flute, Katelyn Munis - clarinet, Nicholas Krol - clarinet, Victoria Locacious - clarinet, Jacob Rodeghero - clarinet, Georgia Dykstra - bass clarinet, Calvin Kozor - alto saxophone, Steven Clausen - trumpet, Matina Papafotopoulos - trumpet, Will Wagner - trombone, Chris Ripley - trombone, Alex Borello - trombone, Logan Nusko - trombone, and Ashley Kolz - tuba.  Award certificates were presented to each student by Board president, Deb Martin. Thank you to Mr. Brace and Mr. Thompson for their dedication.


Homer Council Report:

Cathy Clayton, representing the Homer Council, expressed a shout out to district office staff for quickly responding to get retro-pay and current pay to certified staff members. Mrs. Clayton also wished everyone a happy holiday.   


Homer Support Staff Council:

Stella Kapusta, representing Homer Support Staff Council wished everyone a Merry Christmas.


Approved Leave of Absence:

●      Kristen Rekruciak - 3rd grade teacher at Schilling School - eff. 1/28/20-2/7/20, returning on 2/10/20

●      James Colburn - head custodian at Young School - eff. 11/19/19 - 1/1/20

●      Patricia Serwecinski - paraprofessional at Young School - eff. 10/18/19 - date to be determined

●      Susan Koziarski - paraprofessional at Goodings Grove School - eff. either 12/12/19-1/23/20 or 1/7/20-2/18/20


Employment Recommendation(s) for Extra-Curricular Staff: 

●        Nicole Troha - 5th-8th grade bowling coach - eff.  immediately

●        Job Description Update:  5.36C Utility Mechanic


Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Mike Portwood reported for staffing that our new digital substitute teacher onboarding process, has allowed for a quick transition of 6 new subs into the classroom. Moreover, Linda Kaczmarek is reviewing and rebuilding email groups within our email system. Mr. Portwood reported that we had our second Long-Term Facilities Committee meeting on December 3. The group collectively reviewed pros and cons of several options connected with the plan for additional growth, and clarified questions going forward that will need to be addressed. Mike mentioned that we moved our administrative procedures to a shared drive, where they are now organized, categorized, and digitally searchable for all administrators to view and use. Kelli Gritzenback has completed reviewing 209 affidavits, 27 of which will be further reviewed; leases are next. Additionally, Kelli was approached by a family during the registration process about physical needs their children had. Kelli went above and beyond in connecting this family with outside resources and was subsequently able to pair this family with their request for help. 


Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Mike Szopinski, reported Eureka Parent Night was held on December 12 for Goodings and Hadley Middle School. Teachers did an outstanding job of educating and engaging our parents with Eureka Math. Young School Eureka Parent Night is January 16. Butler School Eureka Parent Night is January 30 and Schilling School Eureka Parent Night is January 23. 


Mr. Szopinski submitted a proposal to the state for summer school math for 1st-7th grade students at Young, Goodings, Hadley and Homer Junior High, which are Title 1 Schools.


Mike also shared that we completed our session of Carnegie Math planning and professional development sessions on December 9 and 10 at Hadley Middle School and December 16 and 17 at Homer Junior High School.


Mr. Szopinski shared that we currently use the MAP assessment as our universal screener for gifted students. MAP is an assessment of achievement not an assessment for the ability to learn. As a result, for better accuracy with identification of gifted students, starting in 2020-2021, we will give the CogAt assessment online to all 3rd grade students for eligibility. CogAt is an assessment of reasoning skills, problem-solving skills and the ability to learn.  


Mr. Szopinski communicated that the science cadre is meeting for a resource presentation on January 22. We are researching new resources for 6th-8th grade science for 2020-2021 school year.


ELA 7th-8th grade cadre is meeting on January 6 to discuss our current pilot of Amplify. We will vote to adopt this resource or continue our search for the best resources for our teachers.


Finally, we are considering e-learning days for next school year. We will get input from our parents and teachers prior to proceeding.


Eric Nush, Director of Technology, reported the technology department has completed 1,065 service tickets this year. Currently, they only had three service tickets open. Over winter break, the technology department will install new copy machine in all of the schools.


Glen Wysong, Director of Buildings and Grounds, reported on December 6 they conducted a flow test at Homer Junior High. The results were favorable in all classrooms except three. As a result, they cleaned and flushed those three rooms. Mr. Wysong also stated that they have installed a corridor HVAC system in the junior high.  Glen report that 90 to 95% of punch list items are completed at Hadley Middle School. The punch list will be completed over winter break. 


Renee Karalus, Director of Special Services, reported that social workers will be attending suicide assessment training at Lockport High School. In addition, many school psychologists have attended the annual psychologists’ conference.  Mrs. Karalus stated that we have four more CPI trainers in the district joining Katie Hansen. Renee shared that she has received several compliments on the extended day early childhood program from parents and educators about the tremendous student growth. Mrs. Karalus also thanked Mrs. Withrow for creating a master spreadsheet to assist with student service projections for next year.


Robert Rounsaville, Director of Support Personnel Services, reported that the transportation department has ten bus drivers retiring at the end of this year. Two of the bus drivers are retiring at the end of December. Mr. Rounsaville mentioned he has hired and trained two bus drivers to replace the retiring bus drivers.


Nathan Baldwin, Principal of Young School, reported Young students just completed their winter MAP testing. 2nd-4th grade has 75% of students above the 41st percentile in math. In reading, 78% of Young students were above the 41st percentile in reading. Mr. Baldwin mentioned that Young School has a goal of 1,500 Youngsters bucks. In addition, to build a positive culture, Mr. Baldwin mentioned that Young School has awards such as “golden sponge, quiet as a mouse, and golden dustpan and broom.” He emphasized that Young School continues to focus on social emotional development of students with the use of Second Step on a weekly basis in classrooms. He also mentioned that the run club hosted by the PE teachers was a great success. Finally, he mentioned that Mrs. Bordenaro, Young’s music teacher, did great work on the grandparents’ day musical for 1st grade. 


Superintendent, Craig Schoppe, reported that during the first week in November the Consortium for Education Change completed a three-day site visit as part of our systems assessment. This assessment benchmarked Homer 33C against a set of research-based, continuous improvement practices for high-performing districts. The CEC provided a report, which has been shared with the Homer 33C staff as well as uploaded to the district website for the community to review.

Last week, the District Leadership Team (DLT) reviewed the systems’ assessment report. The DLT broke up into groups and identified the top three areas of strength and opportunities for improvement for the district. DLT will use that information to focus on areas that we can put structures, processes or procedures into place for improvement. Just as importantly, our DLT will continue to focus on our areas of strengths so we do not lose sight of what we do well to best support our students. We will use this systems’ assessment report to drive our strategic plan, which is the next step in the process.

Superintendent Schoppe indicated that we will continue our work towards updating the district’s strategic plan. Below are the tentative dates:

• Readiness for Strategic Planning:

o January 8 (12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.)

o January 24 (12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.)


• Strategic Planning:

o Orientation - February 18 (6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.)

o Data Retreat - February 27 (8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.)

o Vision Retreat - April 9 (8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.)

o Setting Direction Retreat - May 7 (8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.)

o Final Meeting - May 20 (12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.)    


Board Policies Updated and Approved:

●        2:20, 2:70, 2:70-E, 2:100, 2:105, 2:110, 2:200, 2:220, 2:220-E2, 2:220-E6, 2:260, 3:40-E, 4:15, 4:40, 4:60, 4:80, 4:150, 5:10, 5:20, 5:20-E, 5:30, 5:50, 5:90, 5:100, 5:120, 5:200, 5:220, 5:250, 5:290, 5:330, 6:20, 6:60, 6:150, 7:20, 7:150, 7:270, 8:30.  



Approved Position:

●        Goodings Grove Title 1 Non-Certified Instructional Aide


Approved Notice of Retirement:

●        Kendra Michalik, 7th and 8th grade mathematics specialist at Homer Junior High School,  effective at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. 


Approved CEC Contract:

●        The CEC Strategic Plan Readiness contract in the amount of $2,500. 

●        CEC Strategic Planning contract in the amount of $15,000. 


Long-Term Facilities Planning Discussion:

Mr. Portwood gave a presentation on the capacity of each school. We calculated the capacity of each school, using a standard of 110 sq. ft. for elementary students and 130 sq. ft. for middle school students, from the Council for Educational Facility Planners. Based on these standards, three of our schools are over capacity.


During the discussion, Mr. Schoppe shared that Goodings Grove faces capacity challenges. For example, the gym is not in use for an hour and thirty minutes daily due to it being used as a cafeteria. Also, the size of the gym only safely allows for one 4th grade PE class at a time. Finally, Mr. Schoppe mentioned that Goodings Grove gym capacity is 350 people--there are more students and staff than 350 which limits whole-school assemblies.


It was mentioned during the discussion that a local church is interested in purchasing Goodings Grove School. This is an option to consider when thinking about long-term facilities planning.


Board member, Mr. Trzeciak, stressed the need to know instructional capacity of each school. He also emphasized the need for a list of options and a timeline to make decisions.


Board member, Mrs. Defilippis, advocated that we fix equity issues first and then identify clearly for the community, “What is our biggest concern?” in our district.


The consensus was to identify options for our district with a timeline for decisions.   


Action Taken From Closed Session:

●        Approved termination of a non-certified employee

●        Approved additional 1.1% towards TRS and a 2.6% base salary increase for:   Nathan Baldwin, Candis Gasa, Renee Karalus, Kelly Kardas, Dr. Melissa Onesto, Michael Portwood, Kristen Schroeder, Jason Skube, Michael Szopinski and Greg Zurales

●        Approved additional 1.1% towards TRS and a 5.31% increase on their previous year’s base salary for Christine Graefen

●        Approved 3.7% increase on their previous year’s base salary for:  Craig Schoppe, Aleksas Kirkus, Robery Rounsaville and Glen Wysong

●        Approved the notice of retirement for Erin Shannon, assistant principal at  Hadley Middle School, effective at the end of the 2022-2023 school year




Next regular Board meeting will be held on January 28, 2020