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Hawthorn Board Highlights - Feb. 24, 2022 Meeting

Thank you to staff members from Aspen Elementary School and others who attended the Hawthorn School Board meeting on Feb. 24, 2022, to show support for their colleagues and the Board. The Board heard presentations about our Guaranteed Viable Curriculum (GVC) Leadership Team, the recently completed Dual Language Audit, and the 2022-2023 Staffing Plan.

During the Recognition portion of the meeting, Dr. Hannigan recognized Sergeant Courtney Blaul from the Vernon Hills Police Department for her service to Hawthorn during the last year as our School Resource Officer.

GVC Leadership Team Update

Following this recognition, the Board heard a presentation from Ms. Allison Stein, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation, about the GVC Leadership Team. Two board projects for the 2021-22 school year are directed toward the GVC Leadership Team:

  • We will support the consistent development and implementation of our GVC (Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum) in social studies (K-8), math (K-5), and both language arts and math at the preschool level via training and support with new GVC Leadership Teams. 
  • We will support the consistent implementation of our updated GVC in English language arts (K-8), Spanish language arts (K-5) and math (6-8) in coordination with our original GVC Leadership Teams.

Ms. Stein shared that the purpose of our GVC Leadership Team is to advance student growth and learning by prioritizing and aligning learning standards. The team uses our prioritized standards (essential outcomes) to refresh and refine our unit plans, pacing calendars, and assessments. Over the last three years, our GVC Leadership Team has worked through the following subject areas:

  • English Language Arts & Spanish Language Arts (K-5)
  • English Language Arts (6-8)
  • Mathematics (6-8)
  • Algebra
  • Civics 
  • Language Arts (preschool)
  • Mathematics (preschool)
  • Mathematics (K-5)
  • Social Studies (K-5)
  • Social Studies (6-8)

Thank you to our GVC Leadership Team members. These educators are commended for working in collaboration with one another to build consensus, and for pursuing our goals with tremendous dedication and skill. 

Dual Language Audit

Next, the Board heard the results of the Dual Language Audit that was conducted earlier this year. This was presented by Dr. Art Abrego, Director of Assessment and Language Services, and several other administrators and teachers working in the Dual Language program. The audit was undertaken to understand discrepancies identified in student proficiency from the rest of the district, to clarify program components and intended outcomes, and to address difficulties in staffing the program.

The audit included surveys to staff, parents, and students, as well as site visits and walkthroughs of other dual language programs. A key takeaway from the audit is the addition of a second goal for the program: 

  • Students are bilingual, bi-literate, and bicultural.
  • Students perform academically at grade level, commensurate with their monolingual English-speaking peers.

In working toward this goal, the program will shift its current language and content allocation, with all grade levels now learning in a 50/50 English/Spanish environment. Each class will have one English-speaking teacher and one Spanish-speaking teacher, with each teacher responsible for certain subject areas. This model will be consistent across the building. These changes will go into effect for the 2022-23 school year.

2022-23 Staffing Plan

Adam Palmer, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, presented a proposed staffing plan for the 2022-23 school year to the Board. This proposal takes into consideration enrollment trends and projections for the next school year. Below are the proposed additions as well as relevant funding sources:

  • Licensed Staff Additions
    • 5 Instructional Coaches - ESSR III
    • Dual Language Specialist - Title 1
    • 2 Behavioral Specialists (One for each campus) - IDEA Grant
    • Social Worker - (Split between Dual Language & Aspen Elementary)
    • Certified School Nurse
    • 2 Library Media Specialists (1 at MSS, 1 at MSN)
  • Classified Staffing Additions
    • 5 Elementary Library Assistants 

These additions will support the District’s drive to place highly qualified staff in the best positions to ensure student success.

Discussion Items

Several items were brought to the Board during Discussion, including an overview of policy changes and amendments, the bid results for the Townline/Dual Language parking lot, and a summary of student and summer school fees. LeeAnn Taylor, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations, also provided a summation of how the District plans to spend APR-ESSR III funds. The funding plan can be found on the Hawthorn 73 website.

Superintendent Report

During his Superintendent Report, Dr. Pete Hannigan provided an update on COVID-19 cases across the District, and then detailed District 73’s decision to move to a Mask Recommended learning environment. This included a detailed timeline of mandates, court decisions and legislative developments that led to the February 18, 2022 announcement. Dr. Hannigan detailed the mitigation strategies the District will continue to implement, and he encouraged everyone to practice collective responsibility to keep each other safe. 

Action Items

Up for vote at the meeting were two policy updates that included amendments to Board Policies, which were passed by a 6-0 vote.

Upcoming Meeting

The next Hawthorn District 73 Board of Education meeting will be on March 17, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.