On The Books: December 13, 2016

On the Books News Image

On the Books provides a recap of the Sycamore Community School District #427 Board of Education meeting  that occurred on Tuesday, December 13, 2016. The Agenda and all supporting documents from this meeting and minutes from previous meetings, can be viewed through BoardDocs.

Chief Financial Report

Nicole Stuckert, CFO/CSBO, reviewed the timeline for the FY18 Budget process with the Board of Education. Next year’s budget will be the District’s final year of the budget reduction plan approved by the Board three years ago. During the month of January, District Administration will meet with budget managers who have worked hard to significantly reduce their budgets over past years. She stated the Board will be presented with a tentative budget in June and a final budget in August.

Athletic/Activities Presentation

Mr. Carrick, SHS Athletic/Activities Director, presented to the Board of Education his annual report. Celebrations included the success of sports at both Sycamore High School and Sycamore Middle School. He stated strengths of Spartan Athletics include having great coaches that are dedicated to our students, great facilities, and the incredible relationship the District has with Sycamore Park District.

Curriculum/English Department Recommendation (Action Item)

After a 10 month pilot plan, as approved by the Board of Education during their January 12, 2016 meeting, Rich Majerus, Sycamore High School English Department Chair,  presented to the Board of Education an update regarding the infusion of the speech curriculum into an existing course, as opposed to a stand-alone course. The English Department had determined that Speech should remain a stand-alone course and be re-titled to Public Speaking and Communication. The Department recommended the speech curriculum be revised to make the course modern and relevant to today’s ever-changing world. The course will include a focus on proper digital communications and proper digital etiquette.

The Board approved the recommendation from the English Department to change the name of the Speech course, and retitle it as Public Speaking and Communication.

Communications Update

Kathy Countryman, Superintendent, updated the Board on the District’s Communication Goal. She stated the District has seen great success with the rollout of social media and the redesign of the website. On Facebook, the most ‘liked’ post include the weekly teacher features that showcase the incredible staff we have in our building. She stated the Board will hear a quarterly communications report during one of their January meetings.  

2017-2018 Calendar Update

The Board of Education received an update on the process of the development of 2017-2018 school year calendar. The Calendar Committee has been discussing having three Teacher Work/Institute Days before the return of students, rather to take Friday or Monday off during Pumpkin Fest Weekend. The Board of Education will be presented with a draft of the calendar at one of their future meetings.

Transportation Review

As District Administration continue to work through the Budget Reduction Plan, they are evaluating the use of staggered start times at each level. They are working with Versa Trans, the District’s transportation management solution, to see how this will affect the number of routes, the number of vehicles and drivers needed, the length of each of the routes, as well as the transfer of students that currently occurs at Sycamore High School.    

Strategic Design Update

Group meetings on the refresh of the District’s Strategic Design will occur in February. Chuck Schwan, who assisted in both the original strategic design and the update in 2008, will host two meetings with stakeholders. There will be one meeting with elementary principals to discuss Mass Customized Learning for Young Learners (MCL4YL) and another day will be used for large group discussion including District Staff, Administration, Board of Education, and Community Members. The focus of this meeting will be the District’s Vision Statement and implementation.  

Upcoming Board Meetings

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at West Elementary School

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at the District Administration Building