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Status report provided to District U-46 board

By Seth Hancock
  The 2019-2020 school year starts this week in School District U-46, and a presentation was given to the Board of Education at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 12.
  Classes for most students start on Wednesday, Aug. 14 while preschool classes start a week later on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
  Ann Chan, assistant superintendent for human resources, said the district is currently working on filling open positions. She said every full-time general education position is filled at the elementary level, but other positions still remain open.
  “At the start of the week of July 22, we had 97 classroom teacher vacancies left to fill,” Chan said. “With the return of the administrators… we have filled 49 since that week.”
  Chan added: “Plans are already in place to have an educator in every classroom on the first day of school.”
  Board member Donna Smith asked if open positions will remain posted until they are filled to which Chan said: “They remain open for anyone who wants to apply.”
  Chan said that the previous week an orientation was given for 230 new teachers in the district.
  Josh Carpenter, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said that the focus of that orientation was “building professional relationships, planning and preparation and really understanding what an effective, strong classroom environment looks like.”
  “Onboarding those teachers is an important, critical component of what we do here in U-46…. The new teacher orientation is not an easy effort and a lot of hands go in on making sure that is a successful week,” Carpenter said.
  Carpenter said that there was ongoing professional development over the summer including two days in June at Elgin Community College (ECC). He said ECC has also hosted collaboration days recently on topics such as social studies, math, technology and social and emotional learning.
  Sue Kerr, the board’s president, asked if registration for students continues and Carpenter said it “will continue for sure.”
  Kerr also asked if the district had numbers on how many students have been vaccinated and Carpenter said he did not have those numbers but notices have been sent out to schools regarding students who have no vaccination records. Board member Veronica Noland asked the district to follow up and provide those numbers when they are ready.
  Carpenter said there have been mobile clinics over the summer which continue for vaccinations. He said project access students and new students have a 30-day extension.
  Jeff King, deputy superintendent of operations, updated the board on several departments.
  Regarding food services, King said a garden has been planted over the summer and vegetables have been harvested for salad bars. He said there has been expansion in salad bars with nine total now at elementary schools with the expansion being paid for by the through federal grants.
  “We’ve been using grant money to expand that program and buy the equipment,” King said. “Also, they are expanding their breakfast for all. That’ll be in 21 elementary schools starting this fall.”
  The finance department has been working on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget and working with auditors over the summer according to King who also said it has been working on site-based expenditure reporting which is “a ton of work that the department has not had to do the past years.”
  King estimated that 90 percent of new textbooks have been delivered to individual school sites by business services as well as “almost 16,000 Chromebooks and computers.”
  There are 301 total bus drivers and 283 routes have been completed by the transportation department according to King who said buses have been cleaned and have undergone safety inspections.
  Plant operations have completed over $42 million of work over the summer according to King which is “probably equivalent to the work that was performed in the district after the last bond referendum in 2000-2001.”
  Information services has upgraded systems and programs King said.




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