Dear District 30 Family,
The highlight of our Board Meeting was the approval of Mr. Sam Kurtz as our next Maple School Principal. After beginning his career as a sixth-grade science teacher at Maple School, Mr. Kurtz served as an Associate Principal at Shepard Middle School in Deerfield Public Schools District 109. He then successfully led the merger of two middle schools as the principal of North Shore District 112’s Edgewood Middle School in Highland Park.
Throughout the interview process, Mr. Kurtz distinguished himself as incredibly knowledgeable, thoughtful, kind, and capable. His references emphasized that he empowers and intentionally develops those around him, and they described him as an ethical, strong leader, who is an expert in curriculum and instruction.
Upon accepting this position, Mr. Kurtz said, “I look forward to collaborating with District 30’s administrative team, leading Maple forward, and serving our outstanding students, staff, and community!”
Our meeting also included the following relevant items:
ELA Grades 2-5 Summer Curriculum Work
Thank you to our 2nd to 5th-grade colleagues Anna Davis, Molly Shanahan, Ashley Grosshuesch, Jen Murnick, Lainie Levin, and Nadine Lee, who shared the summer curriculum project work, which encompassed the evolvement and development of the district’s ELA maps. Recent Instructional Strategies, new resources, and re-organization of the placement of certain standards occurred. Work from this year’s professional learning teams was highlighted. The maps have continued to be revised and enhanced based on recent measures of data. In addition, multiple common assessments were either newly created or updated.
ELA Grades 6-8 Summer Curriculum Work
Thank you also to our 6th through 8th-grade ELA colleagues Robyn Kogan, Cindy Sheridan, Nicky Stannard, and Emily Foster, who shared their summer curriculum work, which encompassed clarity and multiple updates to the ELA experience that is offered to ELA Navigate students. Themes were identified, and some curriculum units were moved, while others were re-developed, and/or created from the standards. Essential questions were shared and new works that students will read were also described and discussed.
Transportation Bid Approval
District 30 joins all other Northfield Township Schools in navigating bus bids for next year. After engaging in an extensive bid process, District 30 joined most Northfield Township Districts by receiving one submission from First Student. First Student shared that increasing operating costs, especially salaries that combat the national driver shortage, are driving up prices.
After exploring the concept of re-bidding, Business Manager, Mr. Dale Falk, shared his conclusion that he did not see an advantage in doing so at this time. He referenced what he learned by reaching out to several other companies. They were aware of this opportunity and chose not to pursue it due to the difficulty in expanding operations at this time. The main factor identified was the difficulty in staffing additional routes with quality drivers.
Mr. Falk has also worked with First Student and a parent focus group to explore options that minimize the financial impact on the thirteen percent of District 30 families who access bus services.
School Maintenance Grant Approved
The Board approved a $50,000 School Maintenance Grant secured by our Business Office from the State of Illinois. This grant will help support this summer’s maintenance work at Willowbrook, which includes replacing the roof. Our Board thanked Mr. Falk for securing this grant, and I noted that in maintenance, this summer’s work brings our total investment in our elementary schools to nearly $10M over the past several years. I also shared that although we need to address our elementary capacity because we are out of space at both Wescott and Willowbrook, both of our elementary buildings are in great shape.
Mrs. Blonder reported that the most recent Character Counts meeting included the Essay Contest currently underway. She also highlighted the upcoming 20th Anniversary of our Lew Blond Run that will be on May 16, 2020. Mrs. Artz presented an update on NSSED’s last meeting that included a summary of efforts to update their billing model and a review of the power of early intervention within Early Childhood programs.
I also shared an update from Northbrook’s recent Economic Development Committee meeting that included:
renewing a recommendation for the Village Board to continue to support the Northbrook Chamber,
a celebration of over 225 individuals who attended this year’s State of the Village address, including four District 30 Board members,
a discussion of how recent Cook County assessments will lower taxes on homeowners and increase those of local businesses and industry, and
that there continues to be significant interest in residential development on the Granger property owned by the Village of Northbrook.
Former Superintendents Commemorated
The Board also welcomed former superintendent, Dr. Harry P. Rossi back to help unveil two plaques that honor the service of former superintendents. We revealed one plaque in the new Maple Library that commemorates Dr. Theodore Kamatos, who served as District 30’s Superintendent from 1972 to 1978. On November 9, 1989, the Board of Education dedicated the Library/Media Center at Maple School to Dr. Kamatos in recognition of his quest for knowledge and enlightenment.
We also unveiled a second plaque that hangs in the entrance of our new District Office that honors Dr. Harry P. Rossi, who provided outstanding leadership to District 30 from 1972 to 2005, 17 of those years as our exemplary superintendent. The plaque commemorates his service and the fact that Dr. Rossi emphasized that “We accept responsibility for all of our children.” I celebrated that this motto remains District 30’s guiding principle, and I thanked Dr. Rossi for his service and gave him a brick from the former District Office and the old Maple School. Board President, Mrs. Ursula Sedlak wrapped up the ceremony by sharing our appreciation to Dr. Rossi for laying a foundation that still impacts our culture today.
Our next Board Meeting will be in Wescott's Library on February 27, 2020. All are welcome!