April 2024 Board of Education Report

April 2024 Board of Education Report

A Board Report of the April 8, 2024 Board of Education meeting
This Board of Education meeting was held in the boardroom at 2801 York Road, Oak Brook, Illinois 60523; the regular meeting place. The public can attend Board of Education meetings in person, access an audio livestream of the meeting on the District’s website, or listen to meeting recordings that are uploaded to the District’s website within the meeting week.

Moment of Silence
The Board of Education observed a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting in honor of Butler Junior High School math teacher Melissa Russell who passed away on March 23, 2024 while surrounded by family. Mrs. Russell was a truly amazing teacher, mother, and friend to her colleagues. Her kindness, compassion, and positivity were just a few of the qualities that those who knew and worked with her will remember forever. Everyone at Butler Junior High and Butler School District 53 loved her tremendously.

District Updates

Board Approves Administrative Team Goals for 2024-25 SY
The Board approved the District’s administrative team goals for the 2024-25 school year. The administrative teams’ goals are aligned with the visionary and ambitious Strategic Plan goals approved by the Board of Education in February and support the district's vision: to promote a nationally recognized school community that is proactive in transforming the learning environment and providing an individualized world education.

The administrative team goals include objectives for:

  • Dr. Paul O’Malley, Superintendent
  • Melissa Zaniewski, Director of Student Learning & Staff Innovation
  • Dr. Andrea Prola, Brook Forest Elementary Principal
  • John Hamilton, Butler Junior High School Principal
  • Dr. LaTonya Wilks, Director of Student Services

The plan provides a clear path for administrators to be successful. While many of these goals are individual in nature, each goal requires significant collaboration among the entire administrative team to achieve the intended outcomes. Additionally, the plan provides clear expectations for teachers, allowing the District’s schools to operate as unified teams working toward explicitly-defined goals.

District Staffing New Hires
Since the last Board of Education meeting, the District has hired two Special Education teachers, Nicholas Balzano at Butler Junior High and Tamara Cain at Brook Forest Elementary. Additionally, Mariana Ochoa has been hired as an HR Administrative Assistant. 

School and Student Services Department Updates

Brook Forest Elementary
Principal Andrea Prola updated the Board on recent and upcoming events at Brook Forest Elementary:

  • Brook Forest Elementary’s Heart Healthy Topic for April is Kindness. Students are filling out ‘Throw Kindness Like Confetti’ forms to create a kindness bulletin board, sharing what they do to show kindness.
  • Brook Forest Elementary’s Cereal Box Challenge was a huge success, with students collecting over 2,300 total cereal boxes, more than double the 1,000 box goal. The donations have now been received by the Outreach House in Lombard, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Salvation Army of Oak Brook Terrace, Hope Food Pantry in Oak Park, and the Elmhurst-York Field Food Pantry.
  • Students in grades 3-5 will complete the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) the week of April 8, and students in grade 5 will complete the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) the week of April 22.
  • Brook Forest Elementary students will take part in Coach Beyer’s Dolphin Dash to demonstrate how to stay physically fit and healthy on May 1.

Butler Junior High
Principal Melissa Zaniewski updated the Board on recent and upcoming events at Butler Junior High:

  • The Spring Musical, “Matilda,” is coming soon, with a matinee performance on April 17 and an evening performance at 7:00 P.M. on April 18.
  • Butler Junior High students will be taking part in spring testing in upcoming weeks. Students will complete the IAR the week of April 15, 8th graders will take the ISA on April 25. Additionally, students will take the NWEA MAP test May 1-2, and the NWEA MAP Math test on May 7.
  • Butler Junior High will be welcoming fifth grade students from Brook Forest Elementary to watch the school musical, tour the building, and meet with staff and student council members.

Student Services Department
The Student Services Department has continued focusing on professional development within the District’s schools. The Brook Forest Elementary team provided training to paraprofessionals on strategies for supporting students on the Autism and Pervasive Development Spectrum, and the Butler Junior High team provided paraprofessional training on techniques to promote independence in the classroom.

Additionally, the Student Services Department has continued collaborating with administrators and teachers to improve student achievement. The Butler Junior High resource teachers and speech-language pathologists collaborated with their general education colleagues to create lessons incorporating the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards.

Student Services Department Staff at Butler Junior High School have been collaborating with science and physical education teachers on a lesson study project, having students monitor their own heart rates during the school day to see how different activities and stress impact them. This will help students understand how to cope with stress using effective strategies.

Finally, the Student Services Department continues to focus on improving academic and social-emotional learning for all students. English Language Learners (ELL) students are participating in a six-month Imagine Language and Literacy Curriculum pilot with a final benchmarking assessment. The ELL team will then assess the data and outcomes to determine whether they should adopt the Imagine Learning Curriculum for the coming 2024-25 school year.

PTO Updates

The Butler 53 PTO is busy planning events for the final months of the school year. Upcoming events include the following:

Brook Forest Elementary

  • Brook Forest Elementary’s annual Bike Rodeo safety event will take place on Thursday, May 16. Students will be joined by Officer Yager and the Oak Brook Police Department to learn how to be safe while riding their bikes in the community. Stay tuned for more upcoming information.

Butler Junior High

  • Butler Junior High’s Glow Part will take place on Friday, April 26 from 6:30-8:30 P.M. Students who RSVP by April 19 can access tickets for $15. Tickets will be available at the door for $20. More information will come in upcoming school emails.

District-Wide Events

  • The PTO’s Mother-Son Dance will take place at the Butterfield Country Club on April 12th from 6-9 P.M. Students can bring their Mom, Grandma, or Aunt and join families from the District to enjoy an evening of food, DJ, precious memories, and a big surprise!

    Tickets are still available. Interested parents can contact Lissette Buttitta or Tina Sparagis for more information.
  • The PTO’s Daddy-Daughter Dance will take place at the Butterfield Country Club on April 19th from 6-9 P.M. Guests will step into the glitz and glamor of old Hollywood and join us for a fun night as we celebrate the timeless bond between fathers and daughters.
  • The PTO’s Family Golf Event is coming on Sunday, May 5. Stay tuned for more upcoming details.

PTO Board Vacancies
The PTO still has two board vacancies for the 2024-25 school year. They are still seeking a VP for Butler Junior High and a Co-Treasurer. Parents who are interested or are looking for a fun, rewarding way to get involved can find more information on the PTO website.

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings
May 9, 2024 at 9:00AM: Infrastructure Committee Meeting
May 10, 2024 at 9:00AM: Finance Committee Meeting
May 13, 2024 at 6:30PM: Regular Board of Education Meeting