The Examiner U-46 News Feed
U-46 Board given status of prep for school year
By Seth Hancock
The 2017-18 school year is under way in School District U-46, and the Board of Education was given an update a few days prior to the first day of classes at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 14.
Several new administrators as well as teachers have been hired and are in place according to the district.
Melanie Meidel, assistant superintendent of human resources, said there were 176 open teaching spots in the district at the start of summer and “we’re down to 19.6” as of that meeting.
“We’re talking about classroom teachers here,” Meidel said. “I will tell you that this weekend, an example of every day, we on-boarded, actually made the offers and the offers were accepted from nine people this weekend.”
Although still having positions to fill Meidel said “all rooms are covered, even the open positions have coverage” for the start of school that Wednesday. She said “teacher leaders, coaches and also retirees” were among those filling the open spots.
Board member Sue Kerr asked how the 19.6 number matched up with prior years and Meidel said “we’ve actually been about 20 FTEs (full-time educators) ahead each week” this year.
Ushma Shah, assistant superintendent of elementary schools, said: “We have welcomed a number of new administrators to the elementary team in addition to filling APs (assistant principals) who moved into the principalships. Essentially we have eight new principals at the elementary level, and they have all been on-boarded and have started their schools years and met with their staff for the first time today.”
There were other administrative hires at the middle and high school level said Terri Lozier, assistant superintendent of secondary schools.
“I hired two middle school principals as well as the assistant principals, and that’s been an ongoing thing,” Lozier said. “They met with their staff for the first time on Friday, and I was able to stop at both schools and they had very exciting presentations for their teachers.”
Lozier said there were three new principals hired at the high school level as well as four new administrators at Streamwood and three at both Elgin and Larkin. Board member Jeanette Ward asked for clarification and “wanted to be sure people were aware” those were open administrative posts and not new positions, and Lozier said that was correct.
Suzanne Johnson, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said there’s been professional development going on through the summer for “new curriculum that is rolling forward for science, PE, music, art” as well as “ongoing support for standards based learning and assessment and also our student information system.”
Ron Raglin, assistant superintendent of educational support programs and alignment, said the district hosted an Advancement Via Individual Determination regional conference in June that had over 250 participants and “we had nine other school districts that partnered with us” which led “roughly to around $10,000” of revenue to offset the district’s costs.
Administrators and teachers also took part in an “equity boot camp” at Northern Illinois University this summer according to Raglin, and he said coming up this year there will be an interfaith advisory council held at a Muslim mosque in Schaumburg.
Ward asked for a description of the “equity boot camp” and Raglin said it was “voluntary” and “the main focus is getting to know how we get to know our students and being known by them so we can be able to better serve them.” Raglin said there were three professors leading the discussion to “really just have really, really good conversations… on equity.”
Ward also asked for a description of the interfaith advisory council which Raglin said is a monthly advisory meeting, the first last year being done at a Jewish synagogue in Elgin, and “it’s a way to really learn about the different faith communities.”
Jeff King, chief operations officer, said on the operations side that several projects were completed over the summer and some are still ongoing, such as a floor replacement in the Elgin High School gym, and “all of our buildings and all of the classrooms were cleaned, and all floors were waxed in all of the areas. And we retiled several locations in numerous buildings.”
King said food was ready to go for the first day, and transportation is now under new leadership which has led to “a lot of things are changing internally. I think we’ll see a much bigger change in the system next school year.”
Kerr asked how the district was doing on drivers which King said: “We have 11 additional drivers, but given our attendance on an average day that’s not enough.”
King said they were about 10 to 15 drivers and 10 assistants short, but recruitment is ongoing and “we’ll get there.”