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Summit Hill Board Approves School Improvement Plans

The plans are designed to help the district transition to new statewide curricular standards.

The Summit Hill District 161 Board of Education unanimously approved proposed School Improvement Plans presented by administrators at Wednesday night’s board meeting.

The proposals were designed to align with the district’s three-year New Common Core Standards implementation plan.

Common Core is a set of statewide curricular standards aimed at preparing students for college and the workforce. It constitutes a single set of expectations for all students. All Illinois school districts must fully transition to Common Core by the 2013-2014 school year.

“The superintendent and staff have really worked very hard to lay out an implementation plan,” said board member Sean William Doyle. “Any time you have a dramatic change in the learning standards and so forth at the state level, it’s going to impact, obviously, districts that are trying to realign their curriculum with it.”

Under the New Common Core Standards, students in kindergarten through fourth grade will spend more time reading across the curriculum, with a focus on fluency and comprehension of nonfiction texts.

In math, extended written response learning will be emphasized. Students will learn inquiry and technological design during science, as well as hands-on exploration, method and labs.

Behavioral intervention to support student growth was also highlighted as part of the K-4 School Improvement Plan.

Schools for students in grades five through eight will emphasize staff development training, specifically aligning lessons with the Common Core Standards. Reading and comprehension strategies will also be a priority for schools serving older district students, as will an increased use of writing across the curriculum.

The 5-8 School Improvement Plan addressed the importance of anti-bullying efforts, specifically the creation of a bullying incident report phone line and the addition of a bullying report email link on school webpages.

During the Superintendent’s Report, Superintendent Barb Rains said that district principals are leading discussions about Common Core at monthly faculty meetings and that the district is currently halfway to implementing the Common Core. The next step of the implementation is developing a plan for Common Core resource allocation.

“Common Core will help strengthen the rigor of our curriculum,” said Rains. “It’s not surface or memorization anymore. It’s digging deep to get a deep understanding so that you can then apply what you’ve learned.”

During the Staff Report, district Director of Business and Transportation Susan Krautstrunk spoke briefly about a tentative tax levy.

Krautstrunk said that some of the district’s primary funding comes from tax levy dollars.

The board will hold a special meeting to discuss the levy on Nov. 3. They hope to pass an estimated tax levy resolution at the regular meeting on Nov. 14.

The tax levy adoption date is currently set for Dec. 12.

Board member Sean William Doyle led a discussion of district legal fees at Wednesday’s meeting.

Doyle specified that between July 2011 and June 2012, the district paid $72,578.86 in legal fees.

According to Doyle, approximately 40 percent of the fees were spent revisiting a concluded teacher investigation.

“It strikes me as a waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Doyle. “These numbers are getting under my skin.”

Doyle also said that board Vice President Joy Murphy was in contact with the district attorney on 14 separate occasions, none of which were in compliance with board policy.

The issue was determined to require further discussion and was added to the agenda for a future board closed session.

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tim gaffney October 25, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Well said Mr Doyle and should i remind you of all the legal questions that have been under the umbrella of closing of Mary Drew, teacher reductions and all the other cost cutting measures that the board has taken. The board has saved tax payers millions of dollars and also found someone to lease the old Mary drew school. If you would have supported the idea of reducing the Johnson controls contract maybe it would have more cost savings.
Square Dad October 25, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Nice effort to try spin the legal fees issue, Mr. Gaffney; spoken like a true politician. You sound like a publicist for this board and their ridiculous antics. So, 72K in legal fees per year spent by the board doesn't bother you as a taxpayer? And the board vice president violating board policy doesn't either? Some watch dog you are.
Spring 2013 October 25, 2012 at 03:55 PM
curious Tim...."the board has saved tax payers millions of dollars"???? Show us where that is please. And Murphy on the phone with the district attorney 14 different times??? What was that about? and how much did that cost tax payers? Spill Tim you seem to know alot more that we do. Oh and while your at it, why is there a new district logo? why? and how much did that cost?
Kerri U October 25, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I think that the current board has done well with what they had to work with after being elected. Granted $72,000 in legal seems high but I would like to see the detail before the crucifixion. Most lawyers charge $400 - $600, which is ridiculous but a lot of it may have been unavoidable. Just because a person (Doyle in this case) throws a number out there doesn't mean anything without the backup. When you pay a bill, do you do so before you have seen it? Not typically, so you shouldn't B&C without all the information either.
Square Dad October 25, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Kerri, the podcast fo the meeting is up on the website. You should listen to it. Mr. Doyle wasn't just throwing out a number. He mentions that the Board had details about their legal bills.
Kerri U October 25, 2012 at 06:34 PM
My point is we, the average citizens of Frankfort, don't have the detail so how can we state it is too much?? Lack of full detail makes it where we cannot correctly judge one way or another.
Kerri U October 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
A detailed lawyers bill will include the person who contacted him, what was done and the time spent thus enabling us all to determine whether it was a waste or not. Full trasnparency and disclosure demands that in today's world of deceit and lies we all hear from the government.
Square Dad October 25, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Kerri, have you listened to the podcast?
Square Dad October 25, 2012 at 07:06 PM
So, this board has: 1. Closed Mary Drew with no data justifying their decision 2. Approved 2 deficit budgets in a row 3. Lost several highly qualified administrators 4. Violated the Open Meetings Act (that's why they had to call a special meeting to vote a second time to close Drew) 5. Expended legal fees like a drunken poet on payday Hmmm, somehow I can't see the ray of sunshine that Tim and Kerri see (or maybe I'm just not drinking the right kool-aid).
Kerri U October 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
You just went way off into left field from where I was Square Dad. I am asking for full transparency from all. I never said Mr. Doyle was in the wrong. I am just saying not to cast stones until all the details are available. I don't see the podcast attached to this article and I am at work so I will check it out this evening.
Anna Schier (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Hi Kerri, You can listen to the podcast here: http://www.summithill.org/FileUploads/BoardMeetingFiles/Boardmeeting102412.mp3 Thanks for reading Patch! Anna
FSR October 25, 2012 at 10:32 PM
This board has saved millions of dollars?? Two deficit budgets, drawing down on the districts reserves, excessive legal bills, costly turnover of good administrators and the closing of a school that has never been substantiated to the public. Oh and the lease of a few rooms at Mary Drew for what $18,000 a year. That will offset a couple of million dollar deficit in about say 100 years. Good job really??
tim gaffney October 27, 2012 at 01:16 AM
And square dad should have the stones to stand up and say who YOU really are(Shaun Doyle). Should I remind you there was two pending issues that YOU did not correct because you where board president. Here was your agenda!!! 1) Increase pay for adminastrators 2) feather the bed for Keith Pain 3) Do enough political damage for the incoming board. 4) find a organization such as brookside glen and FS baseball to layout your agenda. 5) Get support to reach District 210 level. 6) Get enough people interested to so you can hide behind Frankfort Dad. So if you are so concerned about your own agenda how about thinking about your community..
Kerri U October 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Too funny, Tim. I was wondering if FS Dad was Mr. Doyle myself. Excellent call on hiding behind pseudonyms. I think we all should start putting any ideas on how to help the school district instead moaning about what cannot be changed. Wouldn't that be a more productive idea? I will start with the pondering of whether there has been a recent review of all SD vendors and if so, is there a way to cut expenses by looking else where?
Square Dad October 28, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Mr. Gaffney, why do you assume that anyone on here that is critical of the board is Sean Doyle? You sound paranoid, like you have a personal vendetta against this guy. Geez, seek some counseling for this... Back to the topic: do you think the board should be spending 72 thousand a year on legal fees? Do you think it's okay that the board vice president violates board policy? And please try to answer without another personal, immature, and silly rant if you can.
Square Dad October 28, 2012 at 04:51 PM
The board's spending on legal fees is something that can be changed.
Kerri U October 28, 2012 at 05:29 PM
The board should assess if there is really a necessity any time before contacting a lawyer, I agree that the stated sum is not something to laugh about. How about going one step further on the idea. Do we have the right law firm at the right price or do we have a law firm that we have used for a long time and they gouge us?
Square Dad October 29, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Kerri I completely agree with everything you said here about the fees and the firm.
FSR November 01, 2012 at 06:18 PM
An experienced superintendent would know when attorney's need to be contacted and provide direction to the board.

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