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Highlights of the September 10, 2020 Board of Education Meeting

Board of Education President Robin Cleek recognized two board members who have reached new levels in their continuing education through the Illinois Association of School Boards. She recognized Board of Education Vice President Wes Polen for earning Master Board Member Level I and board member Sonali Patil for earning Master Board Member Level II. She also expressed gratitude to parents, students, teachers, staff and the community as a whole for their support of the District’s 2020-2021 remote learning plan. She said that overall, the District is off to a great start. 

In his Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Hannigan also thanked the community for stepping up to the remote learning challenge. He said that in conjunction with public health officials, the District is regularly reviewing local and regional data, such as positivity rates, to determine when to begin the process of returning to in-person learning. Priority groups would be brought back first, including groups of special education, ESL/ELL and kindergarten students. The District’s facilities are currently being reviewed/evaluated to ensure they adhere to specific public health guidelines. A more thorough update will be provided at the Sept. 24 Board of Education meeting. 

Dr. Hannigan also discussed the renewal of the District’s Strategic Plan effort. The effort was postponed due to COVID-19 last spring. He said that several virtual sessions have been scheduled to review/finalize the draft mission statement, as well as determine goals and action steps, implementation and monitoring. The virtual sessions will take place on Oct. 22, Nov. 17, and Dec. 8. An optional fourth session has been scheduled for Jan. 12. The 50-60 volunteers who were involved in the first session will be contacted about the upcoming dates. 

The first Hawthorn PTO meeting for the 2020/21 school year was held on Sept. 9. Dr. Hannigan expressed his appreciation for the group that continues to supplement and enrich the educational experience of Hawthorn students. Their Hawthorn Hustle will be hosted virtually this year. Those interested in registering can visit the PTO website at: hawthornpto.org. The cost is $10 per person. 

Hawthorn’s Key to 73 Education Foundation will not be holding Octoberfest this year. Members are exploring alternative opportunities to raise funds for the District. 

In her President’s Report, Ms. Cleek discussed the video update from the Board that is usually presented at school curriculum nights. This year, the video update will be shared through Hawthorn Highlights and/or other communications channels instead of through the online curriculum night meetings. The Board discussed creating and publishing information on the role of the school board on a regular basis to continue to education the public on what a school board does. 

LeeAnn Taylor, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business Operations, provided a Site Facilities Committee report.  A new cleaning contract will be presented to the Board on Sept. 24.  The minimum wage for custodians is being incrementally increased to meet the state mandated $15 per hour by 2024. While the Hawthorn School for Young Learners is open, a few small punch list items are in various stages of completion. Construction is on schedule at Middle School North. Most of the inside renovation is already done.  Elementary South is in the design phase. The expectations for a clean building have changed. The District is following new standards that will contribute to the health of staff. Ms. Taylor will provide a more detailed presentation at the September 24thBoard meeting. 

Ms. Taylor also reviewed the 2020/2021 district budget and the 2021/2022 budget calendar. In the Action Items section, these items were unanimously approved by the Board.