Community Unit District 300 has 20,856 students, a population that is up 2 percent in two years and ranks the Carpentersville-based district as the sixth largest in the state.
Taking a page from the playbook of local, state and national leaders, Superintendent Michael Bregy gave a joint "state of the district" address Monday, updating the community for the first time with such a speech.
Bregy presented at the school board meeting with Board President Anne Miller, reviewing topics of student discipline, communications, curriculum, strategic planning, hiring, finances and school safety.
A core focus of the district has been and will continue to be the three-year rollout of common core standards the state board of education approved in 2010. Miller said the district has invested more than 3,300 hours in professional development for math teachers. That training will continue this spring with the creation of a timeline for other content areas.
With new science and math classes approved by the board this winter, Miller said student interest appears high with textbook approval on tap for the spring. She said tablet textbooks like Huntley Consolidated School District 158 students use are a possibility at some point, though not necessarily for next year.
A significant change at the high school level in the fall of 2013 will be the move to a nine-period day. The effect on students and teachers will be minimal by carving out time for an extra period but Bregy said it will be a much more effective schedule.
"It will make scheduling much easier for our students and it's much easier for our staff," Bregy said.
The nine-period day will increase students' lunches from 30 to 45 minutes to match the 45-minute instructional period. It was a proposal by the LEAD 300 teachers union during last year's contract talks for which Bregy thanked the union leadership.
Also in the contract was a provision for lower class sizes. Miller said the district's human resources department will need to hire 150 new employees to reduce class sizes and replace people who retire, leave or are let go.
"The HR department will be attempting to increase diversity in the workforce, implement professional development programs for district employees and develop procedures to promote a harassment-free workforce," Miller said.
The district's strategic planning process also will continue this year. Bregy said the first two of three phases are complete. A work session likely will be planned for February, gearing up to finalize the plan.
Over the past year, District 300 has implemented an extensive restructuring of its special education program, it has conducted an analysis of its Quantum Learning initiative -- which has trained teachers to reach students with multiple learning styles -- and it has expanded a peer jury program to reach more students and provide alternatives to expulsion.
"You thought all we had to do this past year was deal with contract negotiations," Miller said, to close the presentation. "But in addition to that … all of our workers have been very busy and as you see, we have a lot of things coming up in the future that we'll be working on."