The District 45 Long Range Planning Committee presented possibilities for the future of District 45 for Kindergarten, Early Childhood Education, and Future Classrooms to the Board of Education on Monday, April 1. During a regular meeting on Monday, May 6, the District 45 Board of Education voted to explore the recommendations from the Long Range Planning Committee on Kindergarten, an Early Childhood Center, and Future Classrooms through the Master Planning process.
Long Range Facilities Planning Frequently Asked Questions
Question: If the Board votes to move forward using non-referendum bonds, what initiatives from the presentation will happen, and when will they happen?
Answer: The Board and Administration will prioritize the initiatives for inclusion in the facilities master plan based on funding. Then, the master plan, including a timeline for implementation, must be approved by the Board. The timeline for implementation may span over a period of decades using non-referendum bonds.
Question: If the Board votes to move forward with the initiatives from the presentation using referendum bonds, what are the next steps? When will the Referendum vote be taken?
Answer: The next step is to complete the facilities master plan. Then the Board must approve the facilities master plan. Once the plan is approved, the Board will vote on whether or not to proceed with a Referendum. If the Board votes yes to go out for a Community Ask referendum, a timeline will be developed.
Question: If the Referendum passes, how quickly would the District have Full Day Kindergarten, an Early Childhood Center, and Future Classrooms? Will one building be getting the initiatives before another building does?
Answer: The intent of the Board and Administration would be to have these initiatives done in a period of 2-3 years, and not over a period of decades. It is not the intention of the Board or Administration for one building to have something before another.
Question: Will the LRCs be part of the Future Classrooms?
Answer: Modernizing the LRCs is part of the Future Classroom’s proposal.
Question: Will there be more opportunities for parents to provide comments beyond this Board meeting?
Answer: The Board will be discussing the Long Range Planning Committee recommendations until a master plan is completed; this could take months. There are times for Public Comments at these meetings. In addition to the Long Range Planning presentation and the FAQs on the website, parents can contact the District Administration or the Board members by email with any comments or questions.
Question: My child will not benefit from these initiatives. So with students who will move on before these initiatives are put into place, what is the District doing now to prepare them for the future?
Answer: All District 45 students have one-to-one access. This facilitates and enhances daily classroom work. It also facilitates the many opportunities offered to our students such as coding and robotics in our Industrial Technology (IT) classes, and Hour of Code for the entire District. We are making changes in curriculum as well. Eureka Math and Math Techbook are great examples of how we are preparing our students.
Question: Why has it taken so long to bring something such as Full Day Kindergarten to the District?
Answer: This is something the District has been discussing over time. It is not as simple as opening up another classroom. The District would need to have the space, a curriculum designed for Full Day Kindergarten, and the financial resources for staffing.
Question: Dr. Palmisano has mentioned that having initiatives such as Future Classrooms in the District could increase my property value, but would it increase my taxes? By how much?
Answer: In all likelihood, taxes could increase if bonds are issued to pay for any of the initiatives. The dollar amount of any tax increase would not be determined until the cost estimates are established for any or all of the initiatives.
Question: It has been explained that the Board is voting on whether or not to include these initiatives in the Long Range Plan. Will other things be added to the plan? If yes, how will parents and the community be told what is being added?
Answer: When the Board approves the Long Range plan, it will be with the understanding that a facilities master plan evolves over time as projects are completed, and new needs arise. During the process, the District will share updates with all our stakeholders through our regular messaging, and by placing information on the District website.
Question: Can you explain more about the Strategic Plan? When was it created and by whom? Did the Board vote on it?
Answer: The District 45 Strategic Plan transfers the power of choice and control to the learner. In the District 45 community, we are all learners. The Board invited students, parents, staff, and community members into the process of creating the Strategic Plan. A new mission, vision, and set of core values resulted from the collaborative work done by the stakeholders. All of these components, including the Strategic Plan, were approved by Board vote. With the implementation of the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, the District is set for success with the vision to prepare students to navigate a dynamic word.
Question: What if I don’t want Full Day Kindergarten for my child; will there be there other options?
Answer: The District will be determining the best way to implement the program based on input from all stakeholders. There are many factors to assess with this initiative.
Question: We have been told that Future Classrooms is not about the furniture, then why does the District really need the furniture?
Answer: Many of our classrooms, and particularly the LRCs, reflect the 1970s time period in which they were designed. Parents who attended our schools during that time period have made comments to that effect. While pieces of furniture have been added, there has never been a comprehensive update throughout the District driven by the curricular needs. The teaching methods we are moving toward will be greatly enhanced by furniture that is much more functional. We currently have two Future Classrooms in the District, which serve as three-dimensional examples of our District vision to prepare students to successfully navigate a dynamic world. The students in these classrooms can quickly determine, create or change their classroom setting, giving them ownership of their learning environment.
Question: If teachers will be expected to teach a different way in a Future Classroom, will the District need to hire all new teachers?
Answer: If the District is able to move forward with this initiative, we will anticipate providing professional development for current staff as needed.
Question: What supports will there be for parents at home with the way students will be taught in Future Classrooms?
Answer: If the District is able to move forward with creating Future Classrooms, we anticipate providing many supports for parents.
Question: What happens when my child goes to Willowbrook, and the high school does not have Future Classrooms?
Answer: District 45 wouldn’t presume to answer on behalf of another District. Parents would need to contact District 88 with any questions about their curriculum, programming or resources. However, we can tell you that District 45 does have a collaborative relationship with District 88 as do the other elementary districts that feed into their two high schools.
Question: What happens when everything such as the technology or the furniture in the Future Classrooms is outdated?
Answer: The District would anticipate developing a replacement cycle for all future furniture and technology purchases. Currently, the District has this process in place for a large portion of technology items, maintenance projects, and transportation vehicles.
Question: Will there be textbooks or any books in the Future Classrooms?
Answer: If the District has Future Classrooms, there will still be textbooks as well as many other books. There is no plan to take items off the menu of learning for our students, only add to it.
Question: With the emphasis on technology, how does the District keep students safe when they are online?
Answer: The District currently has a Common Sense Digital Citizenship curriculum designed for both our elementary and middle school students. Lessons with the focus of staying safe online are included in the curriculum as well as tip sheets for parents. An added resource for our families is the Common Sense Media website. The District has also given parent presentations on the topic of safety online. The most recent one was led by the Villa Park Police Department Juvenile Officers
Question: The District took all that time to create a guaranteed, viable curriculum. Where is it?
Answer: This process does require a lot of time and collaboration. The District staff made great strides in this direction, and is still devoting many hours to developing the guaranteed and viable curriculum. Evidence of this work is what we are doing now with K-8 Math and middle school core curriculum.
Question: Will the District continue to address Social Emotional Learning?
Answer: The District will continue and expand our efforts in the area of Social Emotional Learning. This area is equally as important as the safety of our students. Since the Columbine school shooting in 1999, a total of 141 students have lost their lives in school shootings, but there have been 121,034 student suicides. Therefore, there have been 858 student suicides for every one student killed in a school shooting. This statistic is not lost on our community of educators. While we will continue to be vigilant with safety measures, the District will be equally as vigilant in addressing the Social Emotional Learning needs of our students.
Question: Where would the Early Childhood Center be in the District? Will the parents or the community be able to vote on where it is placed?
Answer: At this time, the location of the Early Childhood Center has not been determined. There are many factors in considering where to locate the Early Childhood building. The factors to consider would be space, transportation, construction costs, parking, traffic flow, and where it sits within District boundaries. Ultimately, the Board of Education will determine where the building will be located. During the process, the District will share updates with all our stakeholders through our regular messaging, and by placing information on the District website.
Question: Would my child be able to attend pre-school at the Early Childhood Center?
Answer: The District will be determining the best way to implement the program. There are many factors to assess with this initiative.
Question: Will the children be bused to the centralized Early Childhood Center site or will parents be driving them? What about traffic congestion and parking?
Answer: If the Board of Education chooses to centralize the Early Childhood Center, transportation, congestion, parking, traffic flow, parent drop off/pick up, and walking students will be a large consideration. The goal is always to service as many students as possible in District 45.
Question: Parking is an issue at all of our buildings. Will more parking be added to any of the buildings?
Answer: The parking situation at District buildings is part of the facilities master plan discussions, and any updates to facilities will be dependent on funding.
Question: In addition to the things in the presentation, will the District be adding any new safety measures at the buildings?
Answer: Safety is a main priority of the District. Therefore, safety considerations are part of all our planning whether it is the Strategic Plan or the Long Range Facilities Plan. The District does have a Safety Committee whose members are regularly researching, considering, and recommending new or updated safety measures.
Question: Will the District will be able to address regular maintenance issues, such as roof repairs, or will you need to go out for Referendum for those things?
Answer: The District currently addresses these type of repair/replacements through non-referendum bonds. Future funding of these projects will be determined by the Board of Education when it is recommended for implementation.