Board Hears Staffing Recommendations

As part of the Board’s annual review and approval of the district’s proposed staffing plan for the following school year, the administration presented recommendations for additional positions in Student Services and English Learners (EL)/Bilingual Education. If approved, these positions would help address identified needs in both areas.
Interim Executive Directors of Student Services Kathleen Hart and Michael Meyers jointly presented their recommendation to add a Student Services Coordinator that would support the middle schools. This position currently exists in other schools in the district.  An additional psychologist is also recommended to support the middle school and the district for support in the area of behavior.  Lastly, they recommended that a current part-time administrative assistant position go to full-time and the creation of an out-of-district liaison that would serve as a representative for students being educated in non-District 34 classrooms. If approved, the cost to the district would be approximately $250,000.
In addition, Hart and Meyers provided the Board with a strategic plan for the department that includes short-term and long-term goals that would strengthen the level of services provided to students with special needs and better structure the overall workload of the department.
“Following an extensive review of the current status of our department and an equally extensive look at the future of Special Education, we feel these staffing additions and strategic goals are necessary to better support our students who have special needs.” Hart said.
Director of Communications and Public Relations Jenn Nimke and Director of EL and Bilingual Programs Kristy Patterson also brought forward a recommendation to hire a full-time Spanish translator and interpreter to support the communication needs of the district office and schools. This cost-neutral position, meaning it would not require any additional funds, would allow the district to more effectively communicate with the growing number of families who primarily speak Spanish.
Patterson also spoke to the addition of an Instructional Coach that would support teachers who serve English learners and bilingual students.  The primary purpose of the EL/Bilingual Coach would be to provide leadership and professional development and to support the use of data to increase student achievement for EL and bilingual students district-wide.  Because this position would be paid for out of a grant, it would not come at a cost to the district.
“The creation of these two cost-neutral positions helps ensure our families have access to critical pieces of information about their child’s educational experience and our students are better positioned for long-term success in District 34 and beyond,” Patterson said.
The Board of Education will vote on the proposed positions at its meeting in March.