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Highlights of the June 18 Board of Education Meeting

On behalf of the Board of Education, President Robin Cleek thanked Abe Singh, Director of Finance and Business Operations, for all of his work on behalf of the District. He is leaving at the end of June. She discussed a number of projects in which Mr. Singh played an instrumental role, including the referendum and contract negotiations. Dr. Hannigan also thanked him on behalf of the Cabinet, Administrative Team and the Hawthorn community. 

The District traditionally recognizes its retirees and service award recipients at the end of the school year. Since we were unable to do so in person this year due to the pandemic, the technology department put together a video to honor them. The video, which was played during the Board meeting, recognized the following retirees: Denise Martin (PE-Townline), Francie Mundrane (Nurse-Elementary South), Pam Yeo (Music-Elementary South), Gloria Bentzen (Administrative Assistant-District Office), Mimi Batson (Kindergarten-Townline), Sue Albert (LBS1-Aspen), Mary Pate (PE-Middle School South), Jeanne Bleck (First Grade-Elementary South) Alice Grubb (Music-Townline) and Debbie Hussion (Student Secretary-Townline). The video also recognized staff who had reached important milestones in their careers at Hawthorn, including those who had reached 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service.  

District Superintendent Dr. Hannigan presented a recap of accomplishments during the District’s 2019-2020 school year. He spoke about the process used to set the direction for the year, which included input from the community, staff, Board and other stakeholders. He emphasized that all the projects were connected to the long-range goals of the current strategic plan.

He reviewed the progress of Board priorities for the 2019-2020 school year: 

  • Collaborated with the Village of Vernon Hills to develop a standardized crisis plan.
  • Obtained a mutually agreed upon contract with the Hawthorn Education Association.
  • Planned the opening of the Hawthorn School for Young Learners. 
  • Developed a Professional Learning Community (PLC). 
  • Reviewed instructional practices, assessments and resource allocations to close the achievement gap for English language learners and students in special education.
  • Prioritized and aligned learning standards to define essential outcomes in English Language Arts (K-8) and Math (6-8).
  • Launched a pilot analysis of Tier 1 math materials to select a foundation resource. 
  • Reviewed middle school academic schedules to ensure they reflect District goals and priorities. 
  • Used the results of the District’s technology audit to develop a long-term instructional technology plan.
  • Implemented a data-driven 90-day school improvement process focused on math, literacy and district culture. 
  • Collaborated with the Hawthorn learning community to develop a strategic plan focused on the growth and learning of all students. 

Dr. Hannigan said that one of the proudest accomplishments of the year was Elementary South’s recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School. He also recognized the PTO for their ongoing support for the District. The organization’s annual disbursement for the 2019-2020 school year was $56,000 in cash, books and programming.

Regarding plans for the 2020-21 school year, Dr. Hannigan said that the District has assembled a team of 25 staff to plan for the return to school. The team is looking at three possible models for the fall: in-person learning with safeguards, a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning, and remote learning. The target is to finalize the plan and communicate it to the community during the week of July 20. 

Dr. Hannigan announced the appointment of three new administrators: 

  • Jenna Stern, a teacher at Elementary North, was appointed Assistant Principal of Middle School North.
  • Jaclyn Schwartz, a learning behavior specialist at Elementary South, was appointed Special Education Coordinator.
  • Lauren Boardman, an instructional coach, was appointed Teaching and Learning Coordinator.

During the action items section, the Board approved the following:

  • Amendment to Vernon Hills Parking Lot License Agreement 
  • Gewalt Hamilton Civil Engineering Phase for Elementary South School
  • Food Service Arbor Contract Approval
  • Legal Notice for Public Hearing for Budget 
  • 2020-2021 Tentative Budget
  • Approval of Chiller Replacement with OMS at the District Office
  • District 73 Device Purchasing Approval – Lease with American Capital