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U-46 Board accepts three committee reports


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 voted 7-0 to accept reports submitted by Citizens’ Advisory Council (CAC) committees at its meeting on Monday, June 18.
  The three CAC committees that submitted reports included the safety committee, family and community engagement (FACE) committee and specialized student services committee, and the reports were presented to the board in late May and early June. The board’s vote was an acceptance of the reports, not approval of the recommendations.
  The agenda item stated: “Acceptance of the Reports by the Board of Education does not mean that the Board of Education is endorsing the recommendations. Instead, the Board of Education is just accepting the Reports.”
  The safety committee was organized late last school year in January according to Megan Larson, the committee’s chair, at a May 21 board meeting, and its stated goal surrounded primarily on reviewing and revising the Student Code of Conduct.
  The committee report stated: “Most changes were minor and made in order to enhance readability and comprehension of existing policy and none constituted any substantive changes. Committee discussed how to make the code of conduct more accessible and widely understood by parents and students.”
  Revisions to that code of conduct, which included changes to nearly half of the 50-page document, were approved at the June 18 meeting by a 5-2 vote (board members Phil Costello and Jeanette Ward voting no) and included several controversial changes, but Larson said at the May meeting that her CAC committee was involved in “organizational” changes rather than “substantive” changes because of a short period of time to review the code. The substantive changes were made by district staff.
  Most of the changes recommended by the safety committee involved making the code more accessible, such as adding its own tab on the district website, and producing videos focused on certain topics pertaining to the code.
  Larson said the code has received little feedback from the public in the past and the safety committee was formed “in order to encourage more parent input on the student code of conduct and increase awareness for students and staff and parents, we’ve put this committee together.” She said the committee hopes to be renewed this coming school year for more time to “go more into depth and make more substantive comments.”
  The FACE committee’s mission, according to its report, is to “help improve parent and community involvement at the school and district levels.” The committee had three initiatives in the 2017-18 school year which included expanding the network among school parent groups, hosting a realtor breakfast and evaluating student led parent-teacher conferences.
  The FACE committee recommends to “continue to support the goals and progress of the Parent Group Network” through “providing complete transparency on U‐46 guidelines and policies” regarding the groups and increased participation from board members, to continue hosting the realtor breakfast and for the board to provide “resources that will lead to the successful growth and adoption of Student Led Conferences.”
  The fourth annual realtor breakfast was held this past March at Streamwood High School, and it “attracted 45 Realtors and banking professionals” according to the committee report. The realtor breakfast’s stated goal is to help realtors to propagate for the district to potential home buyers.
  According to the committee report, the realtor breakfast is “our effort to promote the District in the best possible light and encourage new residential growth for the District.”
  The specialized student services committee’s mission, according to its report, is to “act as a resource for parents of students in special education or those receiving special services/support by facilitating information sharing and making parents aware of both U-46 and outside community programs and resources available to their special needs child.”
  In the 2017-18 school year, the committee held four presentations including one in September at South Elgin High School (12 attended) titled “Cracking the Code to Literacy in U-46,” one in October at Elgin’s Gail Borden Public Library (55-plus attended) titled “SSI, SSDI, HFS, DHS, PUNS-Understanding the Alphabet Soup for your child,” one in January at Gail Borden (35 attended) titled “Puberty and Your Special Needs Teen: A Resource for Parents” and one in February at Streamwood’s Poplar Creek Public Library (45 attended) titled “The Challenges Resulting from Continued  Social Deficits: Solutions and Strategies.”
  In the upcoming school year, the committee plans to hold three presentations with potential topics, according to the report, being on behavior “that includes talking about issues specific to siblings of special needs children” or a “general topic such as ‘10 Things Every Special Needs Parent Needs to Know.’ The goal of this would be to appeal to parents of younger children and make them aware of factors they need to be aware of earlier in their child’s development.”

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