school board

Highlights of the January 22 Board of Education Meeting

Hawthorn Elementary North Principal Kathryn Waggoner, Director of Special Services Renee Ullberg and Melissa Phillips, Senior Manager of Children’s Services at Cook Memorial Public Library District, gave a presentation on the Nurture, Explore, Speak, Teach (NEST) program. The presentation focused on the goals of NEST, which are to find future Hawthorn students before they start school and connect them with the services they need to get the best start possible. NEST hopes to reach children who are between 1 and 3 years of age. If children aren’t reached in that time frame, it becomes increasingly difficult to address developmental issues. NEST is partnering with a number of local organizations, including WIC and Child and Family Connections, to provide the appropriate services for the children. Next steps are to schedule a series of developmental screenings. The group has also scheduled a free event on February 8 in which parents can learn how to help their children acquire early literacy skills.

Tom McGrath of LAMP, Inc., Jason Meyering of the DLR Group and Kari Van Sant of the DLR Group answered board members’ questions about the construction of the kindergarten building at the Sullivan Center. They talked about the project’s budget, timetable, and next steps. Later in the meeting, the board passed a motion to move forward with the development of the kindergarten building construction bid documents.

Board President Sonali Patil continued the discussion about the Educational Facilities Master Plan. She said that the building administrators had submitted prioritized lists of space issues in their buildings as requested. As a next step, she recommended organizing several community meetings. The first meeting, which will take place on Wednesday, February 21, will provide an opportunity for the community to learn and provide advice to the Board.

In her President’s Report, Ms. Patil mentioned that she had attended the last Early Release Day. She said that she observed teachers working together. She felt that the half days were beneficial to teachers and worth the time.