Monday, October 16, 2017

Training for administrative professionals
to be offered at Joint Annual Conference

The Administrative Professionals' Program will be offered on
Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18, at the Swissotel, Chicago.
Administrative professionals and those who perform the duties of the board secretary are encouraged to take advantage of the Administrative Professionals’ Program (formerly the Secretaries’ Program) at this year’s Joint Annual Conference.

Designed to enhance the professional skills of the board secretary or district office administrative professionals, the training will be offered on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18, at the Swissotel, Chicago.

In addition to programming designed specifically for district secretaries and administrative professionals, the benefits of attending will include networking with other administrative professionals from across the state. Topics and panel sessions are designed to appeal both to those new on the job and those with years of experience.

There is no additional charge or registration required for the program, however, all attendees must be paid Conference registrants.

The program will kick off at 9 a.m. Friday with the presentation of the Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award, recognizing the extraordinary service provided by administrative professionals who serve their local boards of education. Following the award presentation, attendees will hear from Rebecca Fudge, co-owner of Encompass Consulting Services, who will present “Reframe Your Perspective, Train Your Technique.” This workshop enables participants to shift their mindset to become skillful in conversations and thus influence the systems in which they work.

Friday afternoon will offer attendees a choice of three panels at 2-3 p.m., including Illinois FOIA and OMA, A Magical Life, and 2017 IMRF: Planning for your Future.

Saturday will provide attendees with eight panels, presented over three time slots, starting at 10:30 a.m.:  Front Line School Safety, Three Keys to Turning Conflict into Connection, and Exciting Changes to Your PRESS Plus Service. Two panels will be presented at 12:30 p.m.: Agendas/Minutes and Making Connections: Creating and Cultivating Your Professional Network. Making Connections will be divided into districts under 1500 enrollment and over 1500 enrollment.
The program will kick off with presentation of the
Holly Jack award. Last year the award was presented to
Karen Vota of Coal City by IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy.

The final panel time slot begins at 2 p.m. offering the following panel sessions: The Getting Organized in Our Google Lives Exchange, Moving from Compliance to Technical Assistance, and Exciting Changes to Your PRESS Plus Service.

The afternoon will conclude with the closing session, New Laws or Little-Known Laws that Affect Administrative Professionals, presented by members of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys.

Live demonstrations of IASB’s member database and PRESS Plus policy service will be available at kiosks on Saturday.

Detailed information about specific panels and presenters is contained in the Conference Preview and Administrative Professionals’ Program brochure.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Book for successful school
board meetings is updated

A new edition of the book designed to help school boards have better meetings has been published by the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Coming to Order — A Guide to Successful School Board Meetings targets both new and experienced board members, and should be especially useful to board presidents, secretaries, and superintendents. It answers many questions about best practices for boards performing their duties and exercising their powers within their legal meeting structure.

The second edition retains many of the ideas and structural features of the original edition. It explains how to plan and conduct meetings that meet the needs of the individual school board and takes the board meeting beyond compliance with legal requirements to meetings that serve the interests of both school and community.

This edition was updated to conform to changes in both law and practice and, in particular, to accommodate new thinking about the most effective practices of the school board.

Coming to Order includes 11 chapters and an extensive appendix. The chapters are:
  1. The Importance of Good Meetings explains why a school board that is serious about pursuing high aspirations for its schools must learn how to use its meetings to get the job done.
  2. The Agenda: A Road Map to Success explains how to construct an agenda that reflects the board’s priorities and makes good use of the available time. Various agenda formats are offered along with explanations of the consent agenda and the annual agenda calendar.
  3. Some Legal Requirements for Meetings reviews the requirements of the Open Meetings Act and the School Code as they bear on various types of meetings, committees, public notices, minutes, and board procedures.
  4. Planning the Meeting shows how to structure a meeting to achieve different purposes. This chapter explains the importance of the packet distributed to board members before the meeting, ways to arrange the meeting room, and how to accommodate public participation and needs for security.
  5. Roles and Responsibilities looks at the jobs of the board president, vice president, secretary, superintendent, individual board members, and the board attorney. The chapter presents some procedural guidelines that reflect wide practice among Illinois school boards.
  6. Conducting the Meeting walks the reader through a typical board meeting and offers alternative ways of taking action and reaching decisions.
  7. Recording the Meeting explains the work of the board secretary—the recording and safekeeping of board meeting minutes and related documents.
  8. Inviting the Public to the Meeting focuses on public participation at both regular and special meetings of the board, and provides insights into handling controversy and special interests.
  9. Working with the News Media offers tips on how to create or obtain news coverage that provides the community with accurate insights into the work being done by the school board.
  10. The New Team: Reorganizing the School Board shows how to properly seat new members, elect officers, and organize the new school board following the consolidated election held in odd-numbered years.
  11. Evaluating the School Board Meeting offers suggestions on how a school board can monitor the quality of its meeting.
Some of the special topics addressed in Coming to Order are: avoiding common time wasters, parliamentary procedure, ways of making decisions, myths and truths, electronic communications, orienting new members, filling vacancies, and how to deal with pressure groups.

There is no named author; rather, this book reflects the contributions of many current and former IASB staff members. They are acknowledged by name in the book.

Coming to Order may be ordered from the IASB Online Bookstore or by calling 217/528-9688, ext. 1108. Discounts are available to IASB member districts.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

IASB welcomes new staff members

The Illinois Association of School Boards recently welcomed two new staff members. Dee Molinare joined the field services staff on Oct. 3 and Katie Grant became part of the production services staff
Dee Molinare
on Sept. 16.

Molinare will serve as director of field services in the Lombard office, with responsibility for the DuPage, Lake, and North Cook Divisions.

Molinare served on the Summit Hill District 61 elementary school board for 10 years and the Lincoln-Way District 210 high school board for six years. She has worked as an educator, having taught in various capacities from preschool to college level. Molinare was also an active IASB board member, achieving Master Board Member and LeaderShop Academy Fellow status.

Molinare will eventually fill the vacancy to be created by the retirement of 14-year-veteran staff member Barbara Toney at the end of December. Like Molinare, Toney was also a school board member, serving on the board at West Chicago SD 33 for 16
Katie Grant
years. A former teacher, Toney joined IASB as part of the Targeting Achievement through Governance (TAG) program in 2003. She since has served as a field services director for 10 years.

As assistant director of production services, Katie Grant will be overseeing the Association’s visual image and assisting with marketing IASB through its print and online products.

Grant is replacing Kara Kienzler, current director of production services. Kienzler will move into the role of associate executive director of communications and production services, which will be vacated by the retirement of James Russell at the start of 2018. Russell has spent more than 17 years with IASB. Prior to that, he was a newspaper editor for 26 years.

Grant obtained her bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in 2006 and later earned a master’s degree from EUI in historical administration. For the past three years, she has been a graphic designer at the Illinois REALTORS®. Prior to that, she served in a similar position at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

School design winners chosen

School design entries will be on display at the Conference.
Two dozen school designs will be on display at the 2017 Joint Annual Conference, including those earning awards in the 29th annual Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments, sponsored by IASB Service Associates.

The awards were made by a blind jury pool of architects and superintendents on Sep. 21 at IASB offices in Springfield. This year’s jury chose one Award of Distinction winner, three Awards of Merit and five Honorable Mentions. Awards will be presented to the winning school districts and their architects Friday, Nov. 17, at the Joint Annual Conference.

School design entries invited to display in the Exhibition will be located in the Columbus ballroom hallway on the Grand Ballroom level of the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The 2017 winners are:

  • Cordogan Clark & Associates, Inc. – John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School – West Aurora USD 129, Batavia PSD 101, East Aurora USD 131, Indian Prairie CUSD 204, Aurora University
  • DLA Architects, Ltd. – Schiller Park Kennedy Elementary School – Schiller Park SD 81
  • Fanning Howey Associates, Inc. – Round Lake High School – Round Lake Area SD 116
  • Legat Architects, Inc. – Mundelein High School Science and Classroom Addition – Mundelein High SD 120
  • DLA Architects, Ltd. – Lake Zurich High School, Studio C – Lake Zurich CUSD 95
  • Perkins + Will – Deerfield High School – Township HSD 113
  • Richard L. Johnson Associates, Inc. – Millikin K-5 Addition/remodel – CUSD 228
  • STR Partners LLC – Willow Grove Early Learning Center – Kildeer Countryside SD 96
  • Wight & Company – Valley View Early Childhood Center – Valley View CUSD 365U
Criteria for award submissions included: program/challenge met, how the facility meets 21st century education environmental needs; design; unique energy efficiency or green features; and safety (including passive security design and traffic patterns). To be eligible, construction projects had to be completed in time for occupancy with the start of school this fall.

At the conclusion of this year’s conference, all of the projects on display will be added to the School Design Data File. This service is available for use by IASB member school districts and their architectural firms. The file currently consists of a searchable computer database of more than 540 design projects submitted in previous Exhibitions.

School officials and architects can obtain additional details of any project in the database by contacting IASB at ext. 1105, or emailing a query to

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Correction to IASB Resolutions Committee Report

Resolutions will be acted upon at the Delegate Assembly Nov. 18.
CORRECTION: In the earliest edition of the Resolutions Committee Report it was incorrectly stated that the IASB Resolutions Committee voted “Do not adopt” on the reaffirmation of an existing position regarding state authorized charter school funding.

The Committee actually voted to reaffirm (Do adopt) IASB Position Statement 2.27, which reads:

The Illinois Association of School Boards shall urge adoption of legislation which would create a new methodology for the funding of State Authorized Charter Schools which would not have a negative financial on the host district. With respect to State authorized virtual charter schools, further limit the withholding of State funds from host school districts in proportion to the per pupil expenditure used for building maintenance, classroom supplies, transportation, safety and security, and other costs unique to “brick and mortar” schools. For all State-authorized charter schools, require that proof of continuing enrollment and attendance be submitted quarterly, with prorated refunds to the host school district upon withdrawal of students from the charter school.

To inform Association members and those attending the IASB Delegate Assembly on Saturday, Nov. 18 in Chicago, a correction notice was placed in the Resolutions Committee Report mailed to districts. An updated Report reflecting the accurate vote of the Committee has also been posted on the IASB website.

PARCC testing, school polling places, PTELL levies win resolution support

The IASB Resolutions Committee met in August to review five resolutions, one amendment to a current position, a reaffirmation of an existing position, and a new Association belief statement. After debate among committee members and the sponsoring districts, the committee recommended adoption of two resolutions, the amendment, and the new belief statement.

Chaired by IASB Vice President Joanne Osmond, the resolutions committee is charged with recommending either approval or disapproval of the submitted proposals. The recommendation determines which resolutions are presented to the full Delegate Assembly at the Joint Annual Conference. Resolutions that get a “Do Not Adopt” designation can be appealed if the sponsoring district submits the appeal in writing at least eight days prior to the Delegate Assembly.

The resolutions suggested for adoption this year include the following proposals:
  • School-as-polling-place reimbursement, submitted by Indian Prairie CUSD 204. The Illinois Association of School Boards shall support legislation that amends the Election Code and the School Code to mandate that the appropriate officer or board having responsibility for providing a polling place for the election shall reimburse the school district for any costs, including security to ensure student safety, in acting as a polling place. Estimated costs shall be provided to the appropriate officer or board in advance of any decision to use a particular public building in order to ensure efficient use of public resources.
  • PARCC testing results, submitted by Altamont CUSD 10. The Illinois Association of School Boards shall petition the Illinois State Board of Education to fairly report discrepancies in the scoring of state-required standardized testing: (1) between paper-and-pencil, versus electronic, test results and (2) within the electronic testing method. Further, such discrepancies will be made public so that schools may provide said information to parents and the media when the testing results are reported as required under state law.
  • PTELL, no penalty for under levy, submitted by Naperville CUSD 203. As amended, The Illinois Association of School Boards shall support legislation that allows school districts to levy an amount less than the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) formula would allow without penalty in future years. When a district “under” levies, the district will have the ability to reassess the reduced levy taken in a given year and recover the full entitled levy for a period of three years from the effective date of the reduced levy. A district will not be entitled to reassess the reduced levy once the three-year limit has expired.
In addition to the new and amended position statements recommended for adoption, a new belief statement was suggested for approval. The statement reads:

The Illinois Association of School Boards believes school boards should employ competitive bidding practices for upgrades in technology and energy savings and should also provide an energy savings contracting model policy and training opportunities for school districts.

The panel also made motions of “do not adopt” for three resolutions. Resolutions that were not approved include proposals to permit school faculty to carry firearms on school grounds, a one percent statewide sales tax increase, and changes to the Open Meetings Act to allow closed sessions for discussion of shared personnel in districts that have entered a Joint Cooperative Agreement.

The committee’s Report to Membership will be mailed to districts in mid-September and made available online. In addition to the committee motions, the report also contains rationale provided by the districts for the suggested changes, and the reasoning offered by committee members for their recommendations.

“School board members once again showed that they are paying close attention to the education issues; this year topics include PARCC testing and school safety procedures,” said Ben Schwarm, IASB deputy executive director. “The committee process and meeting was impressive from a membership point of view. We had nearly 100 percent participation among our resolutions committee chairmen and the school boards that submitted resolutions.”

IASB member district delegates will meet at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago. Resolutions approved by the Delegate Assembly will be added to IASB Position Statements and used to guide Association policy for the coming year.

The current IASB Constitution and Positions Statements can be found online.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Evidence-Based Funding Formula
overview available

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently posted updated materials to assist districts with navigating with the new Evidence-Based Funding Formula.

The presentation entitled An Overview of the Evidence‐Based Funding Formula looks at the three stages in which district calculations are formed and how adequacy targets will be included into the projections. The ISBE PowerPoint also shows how local resources will be factored into the distribution formula, the various funding tiers, and the implementation process going forward. A separate slide that details provisions which only apply to Chicago Public Schools is also included.

Additional resources about the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act are available on the ISBE website.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

IASA Conference defines, develops culture

Lynette Zimmer, superintendent of Lake Villa
SD 41 discussed use of therapy dog, Jeep.
At the annual meeting of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, attendees were encouraged to plan for the new funding formula, tell their story, rethink school, bond with their district communities (adorably, in one case), discover their own cultures, and allow students to find joy in learning.

Thomas Bertrand, superintendent of Rochester CUSD 3A, presided over the conference, held Sep. 27-29 in Springfield. Brent Clark, IASA executive director, spoke of the state “turning the corner” on public education.

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith updated breakout session attendees with information on the state’s evidence-based funding model, the federal approval of Illinois’ state plan, and their overlap and timelines.

The opening general session, led by Joe Sanfelippo of the Fall Creek School District in Wisconsin, encouraged superintendents to build a district culture and share its story. In a breakout session that followed, Superintendent Keely Roberts of Zion SD 6 spoke about “coming to terms with our story,” and how her district undertook “rethinking school.”

IASB Field Services Director Patrick Rice presented a pre-conference session on the board/superintendent relationship and breakout session entitled “Enhancing Education for African American Children and Effectively Involving their Parents.”

IASA presented an “Ignite” format for its second general session, with a series of quick five-minute presentations. Among them was the story of Jeep, a therapy dog owned, trained, and working in the schools and classrooms with Lynette Zimmer, superintendent of Lake Villa SD 41. Together, Jeep and Zimmer have developed a bond with the district community.

Sonya Whitaker of Harvey SD 152, keynoter at the third general session, spoke on culturally responsive leadership, relating that everyone has a culture, with a definition that opens “culture is the air that we breathe.” Educator Dean Shareski echoed those thoughts, and encouraged attendees to bring joy in learning to their districts, that “maybe it’s not about balance, but about intention.” Shareski’s presentation at the closing general session included “table-top texting,” where attendees could add their thoughts to the conversation.

The 2018 IASA Conference will take place Sep. 26-28 in Springfield.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Still time to register
for workshops, safety seminar

Details of the school safety seminar are available online here.
With six weeks remaining until the 85th Joint Annual Conference, there is still time to secure registration for one of IASB’s pre-conference workshops or the half-day school safety and security seminar.

Several workshops have sold out, but five of the Pre-Conference Workshops still have openings. That includes four full-day workshops: The Basics of Governance, Professional Development Leadership Training (PDLT) and Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) Training for School Board Members, Leading Leaders: The Job of the Board President, and Monitoring District Performance: Saying What We Mean & Doing What We Say; and one half-day workshop: Get Your Message Out: Your Role in Crafting an Effective Public Image (both A.M. and P.M.).

All IASB workshops require additional registration and fee, and will take place on Friday, Nov. 17, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

IASB is also hosting for a second year a Safety and Security Seminar called “Preparation for School Safety.”

The Friday morning event will feature representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois School and Campus Safety Program, local school district safety officials, and
the keynoter, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a former U.S. Army Ranger, West Point psychology professor, and author. Since his retirement from the Army, Grossman has provided training for military, law enforcement, mental health providers, and school safety organizations. Grossman will share his research knowledge on the best tactics to safeguard our schools and students.

The school safety and security seminar requires additional registration and fee and will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Conference deadlines now at hand

There is still time to register for the 85th Joint Annual Conference, which is taking place Nov. 17-19 in Chicago. Conference registration rates of $465 per person will continue until Oct. 6. After that date, the rate will be $490.

To qualify for the lower rate, registrations must be received by 4 p.m. on Oct. 6. It can only be done online.

Those who register on-site at the Hyatt Regency Chicago can complete their registration upon arrival. The on-site registration desk will be open Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Limited housing is still available at Conference rates for two remaining hotels: the Chicago Marriot, and InterContinental Chicago.

Oct. 6 is not only the deadline to register, but also for written registration refund requests. Such requests should be made by email to Shantel Rotherham at Registration refunds, less a $95 per person fee, will be processed after the Conference. There are no refunds after Oct. 6. Housing will be automatically cancelled for cancelled registrants with housing.

More information on registration and housing is available on the Conference webpage

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Honor local school
board members on Nov. 15

On Nov. 15, school districts throughout the state will have the opportunity to thank and recognize their local board of education members by celebrating Illinois School Board Members Day. Created by the legislature in 2008, the annual day of recognition honors board members for their service and leadership toward educational success.

The 2017 theme is “Leading by Learning.” Being a great leader requires a commitment to continual learning. School board members participate in professional development opportunities to learn how to improve their skills and become better board members. They take time out of their personal lives to ensure they are tuned-in to the needs and wants of the school district and community.

Board members play a critical role in representative democracy and strive to protect two precious resources: children and tax dollars. They volunteer their time and are committed to their board responsibilities, not for a paycheck, but to create quality educational opportunities for the students in their school district.

To assist district recognition efforts, IASB has created a package of materials to honor the dedication of local school board members. Illinois School Board Members’ Day resources include a themed logo, sample press release, letter, and article, as well as marquee messages, Illinois school facts, and an honorary certificate that can be personalized and presented to board members. Leadership quotes that can be incorporated into newsletters or used on social media are also available.

Districts are welcome to use any of the School Board Members’ Day resources without additional permission. All the materials are accessible online. Districts are encouraged to share their honorary efforts with IASB on the Association’s Facebook page and Twitter account to share with interested followers.