Sept. 27 Kaneland Board Meeting

     On Monday, Sept. 27, Kaneland held its fifth board meeting of the year. The meeting was hosted as usual at Kaneland Harter Middle School, and it lasted around one hour and forty minutes. It covered several different topics, focusing mostly on classroom passive live streaming and hearing from several different parents and members of the Kaneland community.

     The meeting started with Superintendent Dr. Todd Leden informing the viewers that the next board meeting will occur on Wednesday, Oct. 13, instead of Oct. 11 due to Columbus Day. It will be introducing the new Kaneland High School staff, and the meetings after will introduce the new staff from the other Kaneland schools.

     Following this announcement came the first time slot for public comments. 

     Parents seem to be very split , as a large portion of the comments during the meeting were either expressing gratitude for or protesting the mask mandates, asynchronous and passive live streaming learning procedures and COVID-19 restrictions and regulations at the school.

     Kaneland parent of four Erin Zwick expressed disappointment with the lack of a Homecoming king and queen, arguing that we should not remove the roles when “our mascot in and of itself is a male dominated mascot,” Zwick said.

     Kaneland parent of two Kelly McCarty expressed concern and disgust with the novel Internment by author Samira Ahmed. She found deep problems with it for the fact that it, according to her, spreads misinformation and hate.

     “This book was based on [former President Donald J. Trump]. It’s untrue, and I know it’s a fiction book, but if it was written about [former President Barack Obama],  I don’t believe this book would even be entered into the reading list for our kids,” McCarty said.

     Following the first round of public comments, the board went through a list of items needed to be approved that went as follows: accounts payable and payroll; minutes from the Aug. 30, 2021 meeting; resignations, terminations and employment of staff; 2020-21 administration and teacher salary and benefits report.

     After this approval, Director of Human Resources Dr. Christopher Adkins presented an update on the current state of Kaneland’s passive live streaming system for remote instruction when a student cannot attend school in person.

     Passive live streaming is a way for students to connect, attend and participate in class while they are not able to physically be in class due to being quarantined or for other reasons.

     Essentially, teachers will livestream their class through Google Meets, so students can watch and listen to the material that is being taught. Due to its lack of immersion and physical barriers, the stream does not work as a perfect replacement for class, as students most likely cannot participate in tests, labs, group discussions and other activities. 

     Utilizing the passive live streaming option is not required, but in order to sign up, families must complete the form, and then teachers have 24 hours or until the next school day to start a passive live stream.

     Students who are in need of devices or stable WiFi connections can contact the principal of their school for help.

     Passive live streaming may not be needed for every class. If students utilizing the feature have questions, they are encouraged to email their teacher. If a teacher is absent and has a substitute teacher that is unaware of passive live streaming, teachers may provide traditional work to their non-in-person students.

     Following the presentation on passive live streaming, Dr. Leden provided several updates. He updated the board members on the Respect, Equity, Value (REV) initiative. He discussed the equity audit being funded by the Dunham Fund. 

     He happily informed the group that COVID positivity rates continue to go down, but the district is continuing to follow mandates that are being provided by the CDC. He expressed frustration that the decision tree, a planning method the district uses, is still not constructed for the 2021-22 school year, as it is typically done by July. He also announced that the following meeting, taking place on Oct. 13, will have a standards based grading presentation, along with a professional learning update.

     The second public comments section yet again was entirely comments in support or protest of mask mandates, COVID-19 rules and regulations, passive live streaming and questions about SHIELD testing.

     Following the second public comments section, the meeting was adjourned.