School board clip art

Highlights of the August 22, 2019 Board of Education Meeting

Representatives from Legat Architects presented plans and a timeline for the additions and renovations of Middle School North.  The additions include seven new classrooms, a full gym, new music room, renovation of the locker room and upper gym, stem lab renovation, collaboration space and an outdoor learning space. The parking lot will be reconfigured in places but will not lose any parking spaces. The projected completion date is August of 2021. The budget is $9.9 million. The plans will be presented at the Sept. 12 Board of Education meeting for approval. 

Abe Singh, Director of Finance and Business Operations, discussed Gewalt Hamilton Associates’ proposal to provide the surveying, civil engineering and construction phase services for the Middle School North additions at the cost of $57,995. Mr. Singh said that the proposal is in line with the estimate. The proposal will be among the action items of the next Board of Education meeting.

A public hearing took place concerning the tentative budget for the 2019-2020 school year. It was initially presented at the June 24 Board of Education meeting. Expenses for the School for Young Learners and the Middle School North additions have been included. The final budget will be presented at the September 12 Board of Education meeting for approval. The floor was opened for comment, but none were received. 

Todd Spright, Chief Security Officer with Net56, presented a districtwide technology utilization assessment. The goal was to assess the current state of information technology and position the district to work toward a strategic plan. 

Mr. Singh reported that the crisis team met several times over the summer and revised/updated the District’s emergency operations plans to be in alignment with District 128. Revisions were made with the participation of local fire and police. Dr. Pete Hannigan introduced Adam Boyd, the District’s new School Resource Officer. 

In the Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan spoke about preparations leading up to the first day of school on August 22. Staff and teachers were quite busy planning events such as the New Teacher Orientation, Welcome Nights, Supply Drop Offs and professional development sessions. Dr. Dennis King, a Professional Learning Community consultant, worked with teachers during Teacher Institute Days and will continue to provide support through the school year. 

Dr. Hannigan spoke about his transition into the district. He said that everyone has been quite helpful. Since he was hired, he has met with more than 80 parents, community members, and staff. The meetings have helped him build an understanding of Hawthorn District 73, as well as its strengths and challenges. He outlined the District’s five goals for the school year: 

  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Collective responsibility
  • Caring
  • Pride 

He also spoke about next steps toward developing a new strategic plan. The District’s Administrative Team began working on this in March. The team decided to keep the long-range goals outlined in the 2014-2019 strategic plan, including student achievement, learning environment, professional environment, partnerships and resources. Some of the priorities for this school year include:

  • Using the technology audit to develop a technology plan
  • Hiring a new technology director
  • Planning the opening of the Hawthorn School for Young Learners (new kindergarten school)
  • Hiring a principal for the new school in November
  • Planning the additions/renovation for Middle School North
  • Reviewing middle school academic schedules 

Dr. Hannigan emphasized the need to improve internal communications, build stronger relationships with partners, and communicate accomplishments to the community. Once finalized, the new strategic plan will be presented to the public. The strategic plan page on the District’s website will be updated. 

In her President’s Report, Board President Robin Cleek welcomed everyone back to school.  She also discussed the development of a video or recorded message to be played at upcoming Curriculum Nights. It will also be posted on the website. 

Topics for future meetings include: 

  • Renovating the staircase at Townline Elementary
  • Developing consistent standards for building and grounds maintenance, especially with the opening next year of the School for Young Learners 
  • Updating the board room to make it more customer friendly