The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

  • 6/24 Board Meeting
The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

Board Meeting 5.13.24

Director of Educational Services EC-5 Dr. Sarah Mumm explains to the board the celebrations of MTSS and SEL in the elementary, middle and high schools. These educational tools have brought lots of success and growth for all students.
Photo By Sarah Slattery
Director of Educational Services EC-5 Dr. Sarah Mumm explains to the board the celebrations of MTSS and SEL in the elementary, middle and high schools. These educational tools have brought lots of success and growth for all students.

On Monday, May 13, Kaneland Community Unit School District 302 hosted its regularly scheduled board meeting at 7 p.m. in the sixth-grade team room at Kaneland Harter Middle School. All board members were present. 

Board member Aaron McCauley moved The Approval of the Student Handbook consent agenda item to New Business by.  

The meeting started with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Todd Leden recognizing student ambassador Katie Pfotenhauer and all the work she has done for the board. The new student ambassador will be implemented at the Aug. 14 board meeting. 

“[She] was able to just be a really informed student who gave us a lot of great feedback. We are fortunate to have had Katie,” Leden said. 

Leden then followed by recognizing the staff members who would be retiring at the end of the school year. He recognized Administrative Assistant in Special Services Renee Kuryliw, John Stewart Elementary School multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) coordinator Christine Sears, Kaneland High School Spanish teacher Heather Spaetzel, Blackberry Creek Elementary School teacher Kelly Degaetano, McDole Elementary School teacher Lori Williams, KHMS math teacher Sharon Marcellis, KHMS nurse Vicki Molander and Associate Superintendent Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs. Together, they have 169 years of service in the district. . 

“As Dr. Leden coined the phrase, I am proud to be a Knight,” Fuchs said. 

He then recognized the group of teachers who  represented Kaneland at the Educational Coaching Network conference on Thursday, May 9. Kaneland won the Instructional Champion Award, which was really an award for the commitment of the school district to continue to staff our instructional coaches. The group that represented Kaneland included teachers from all the schools in the district. The teachers who were a part of the team included instructional coaches Samantha Mauer, Elizabeth Orman, Nancy Meisenger, Stephanie Unger, Faye Licari, Elsa Glover, Rachael Walker, K.C. McCarty and Jessica Bloomquist. 

Three residents signed up to speak during the first round of public comments. . The first came from current Kaneland Education Association (KEA) President Kindra Schumacher KHS math teacher Susie Acksel, the future KEA president. Schumacher introduced Acksel to the board and Acksel explained her goals for the next three years. 

“Our union represents hundreds of dedicated educators who are deeply committed to the success and well-being here at Kaneland…I look forward to working collaboratively with the board and administration,” Acksel said. 

The second public comment was from Elburn resident Sheila Albano on behalf of the KHS track community. 

“Your community wants to know what has been happening in the weeks between board meetings,” Albano said. 

The final public comment was from Elburn resident Jenine Mehr in relation to the violence and threats that occurred at KHS in the preceding weeks. . 

New business opened with  discussion and updates on the school district’s MTSS and  Social Emotional Learning (SEL) plans. The discussion was led by Director of Educational Services EC-5 Dr. Sarah Mumm and Director of Educational Services 6-12 Patrick Raleigh, along with elementary MTSS Coordinator Rob Gardner, Behavior Facilitator Nicole Full, KHMS MTSS Coordinator Laurie Villalobos and KHS MTSS Coordinator Rebecca Rothecker, who helped explain to the board the updates regarding the progress and successes of the MTSS programs at every school in the district.  

“Truly, beneath [the] MTSS umbrella is just as much academics as it is SEL,” Mumm said. 

MTSS and SEL work in collaboration  when it comes to helping students. MTSS’s support system can target students’ needs and help them without singling them out or making them feel alone. For the middle and high school level, they are more individual-based but nonetheless help students when they reach out or are referred to MTSS. 

SEL lessons are taught throughout the district and provide different resources  based on individual or classroom needs. Some board members did have questions regarding the usefulness and productivity of the SEL lessons and the concerns they have about teachers facilitating them.

“It’s really looking at classroom conversations. If there’s a need for additional support, our behavior facilitator can go into those classrooms to have co-facilitated conversations,” Raleigh said. 

They then explained how and why SEL benefits students and makes it so they are looking at the individual child as a whole. 

The next item of new business consisted of Raleigh’s presentation of the proposed traditional grading practices for grades 6-12 in the 2024-25 school year. The grading system for KHMS will base students’ grades on 80% of summative work and 20% of their formative assignments. For the high school, however, it will be based on 70% summative, 20% formative and 10% for the final exam. The reassessment policy for all students includes one capped reassessment per summative, and the students must advocate for themselves and create a learning plan so they can retake the assessment. The main issue some board members had with the new grading practice was the reassessment policy.

“The reassessment, I don’t feel that’s preparing the kids for the future,” board member Aaron McCauley said. 

They eventually came to a motion to have Raleigh come back with a new reassessment plan. A couple of suggestions the board had was for the teachers full autonomy over reassessments by providing them with the ability to create a cap on the amount of reassessments a student can have, whether per assessment or per semester, and to only allow reassessments to increase the original grade by 15%. This motion was passed 6-1. 

The third item of new business was the discussion about the Sugar Grove Crown Development TIF and what stance the board will take on it. 

They had Robbin Schwartz Law Practice Partner Kenneth Florey answer any remaining questions about the TIF before the Board of Education’s meeting with the Sugar Grove Village Board. 

This meeting will be held privately in early June, after the May 22 joint review board meeting and before the public hearing on the TIF. They decided to have a straw poll to abstain on the TIF for now, with a result of 5-2. 

The next two items of new business were an update on the referendum and the approval of handbooks for support staff, which consist of bus drivers, food service employees and educational support staff. 

The only update for the referendum is that the board will have a two hour meeting in closed session about the referendum, and they will take a tour of KHS to see the status of the high school. They then moved to the support staff handbook, which they approved 7-0. 

The final item of new business, which McCauley added from the consent agenda, was the approval of the student handbook for the following school year. The reason he pulled it from the consent agenda was because of the policy on phones, bluetooth earbuds and smart watches. 

“I think that banning the airpods, anything ear related, would be a great thing and just one less distraction in the classroom,” McCauley said. 

They decided to direct Raleigh to bring back an updated handbook with updated language in regard to bluetooth earbuds and smart watches.

Student ambassador Katie Pfotenhauer gave her final remarks, with a recap of end-of-year events that have been happening at the high school. Pfotenhauer also provided advice for the future student ambassador.

“[It’s about] finding the little things that you can do…it’s just finding more for [them] to come up on and talk about in general,” Pfotenhauer said. 

She also provided updates on the high school’s sport teams, the highlight being the boys track team winning conference for the seventh year in a row. 

The next board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 29. 

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About the Contributor
Sarah Slattery
Sarah Slattery, Design and Photography Executive
Name: Sarah Slattery   Position: Design and Photography Executive   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: Some of my hobbies include playing softball, taking pictures at a multitude of sports events, my favorite being football and basketball games, and drinking coffee. I can't wait to continue taking pictures at all of Kaneland's events and having fun with everyone.    My favorite…   Movie:  The Notebook Show: The Queen's Gambit/Breaking Bad  Animal: Elephants Hobby: Photography and Traveling Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth Food: Crab Rangoons Song: Stuck with Me: The Neighbourhood Band / Artist: Zach Bryan and The Neighbourhood