school board meeting

Highlights of the August 28 Board of Education Meeting

Superintendent Nick Brown reported that things went smoothly on the first day of school on August 23. Principals, teachers and staff were excited to welcome their students. A few buses were delayed due to construction work on Route 60.  He said that the district considers the first weeks of class as an important time for teachers to get to know their students. He also said that the schools are connecting with parents through numerous events, such as curriculum nights, parent meetings, and orientations.

Mr. Brown discussed a major event for the middle schools. About 1,500 middle school students are receiving their Google Chromebooks this week. Middle School North students received their Chromebooks on Monday and Middle School South received them on Wednesday.

Enrollment numbers were a topic of discussion as the district works to accommodate an increasing number of students. Mr. Brown said that this is a volatile time for enrollment. Numbers are going up and down each week. He expects the numbers to be more stable in October. He said that the schools have been creatively handling space challenges not only this year but for several years. For instance, health and art classes are taught in two portable classrooms at Elementary South, and other schools have moved a few classrooms into cafeterias and libraries.  He commended the principals for doing a great job with staff to make these displacements work.

Mr. Brown provided details on his conversation with management at the Cuneo/Loyola Mansion and Gardens property located at 1350 Milwaukee Avenue in Vernon Hills. He said that the district can expect 120 children between kindergarten and eighth grade to live in the 128 new homes that will be built over the next three years. The Board is expected to make its decision on which district schools these students will attend by mid- to late October.

Board of Education President Sonali Patil gave an update on the Bagels with the Board meetings, in which board members met with the public to listen to their perceptions about the district. She said that while attendance was low at the meetings, there were opportunities to promote the district’s community survey and increase the number of surveys completed by both English and Spanish speaking residents. The survey will close on August 31. The results will be shared with the public.

In her president’s report, Ms. Patil urged parents to be patient and considerate as busing challenges get worked out over the first weeks of school. She assured the community that if a school bus is delayed, school officials know, and there is no need to contact the schools.