District 158 Board of Education Journal on May 20


Provided by Holly Urbanczyk

By Holly Urbanczyk, Staff writer

The Board of Education Meeting took place this Thursday, May 20, 2021, and began with principal Marcus Belin and a beautiful introduction of the Huntley High School production Newspaper and Yearbook classes. He thanked Dennis Brown and Lauren Teeter for their hard work and dedication they have put into the school and the programs. He thanked them for all of the time they put in outside of school and how that shows they really care.

Brown came up to the podium after Belin with a speech about the journalism here at Huntley. He covered how many times they’ve been to sectionals and how many times they’ve almost been able to call the IHSA State Championship Journalism trophy theirs. Brown proudly announced that the HHS Journalism State Team not only placed but won first place with the most points any team has ever won in this competition, a whopping 36 points. He then listed the names of all the students who participated and placed them. Brown closed by thanking the BOE for all it’s allowed and helped them to do.

After Brown finished, Teeter stepped up to say how proud both she and Brown are of all of these students. She repeatedly stated how awesome they are and how she is so glad they get to receive this recognition for their dedication to their teams. She closed by thanking Brown for being so enthused in this work because his excitement and competitiveness rub off on her during the competition season. The students walked through and shook the hands of the BOE members, and then photos were taken of the BOE members and students all together.

Belin stepped up to mention the public presentation of the first place state trophy next Wednesday at 4 pm in the Huntley Town Square and then at Parkside Pub. Belin closed by thanking the parents who helped the students get here.

After the journalism students left, the students in Huntley’s Competition Theater Team came in with Christine DeFrancesco. Belin thanked all of the students in the competition theater for being so dedicated to their sport. He mentioned how talented they truly are and how well they have been able to adapt to what they have in relation to COVID. Belin mentioned the special bond between DeFrancesco and her students and how they really are like family. We all can see how deserving they are of this recognition, so it was a big congratulations.

DeFrancesco came up to say some things. She began with a story. It was March of 2020, and they were preparing for their IHSA State in two days, making quick, last-minute touch-ups. In two days there was a shock to their systems as we were all sent home due to COVID. They endured quarantine and slowly made it back into the building. They were able to attend the IHSA State Competition this year, 2021, and placed in 4th and 6th place. DeFrancesco finished by thanking the administrators for their continued support. The Competition Theater Team then shook all the hands of the BOE members, and their photos were taken.

After the theater team students left, there was a public comment was made by Marco and Johanna, parents of their daughter Isabella, who attends school at Chesak Elementary. Their daughter, Isabella, was born without a left ear making her partially deaf. District 158 said under IDEA guidelines Isabella would not be considered in the district’s special education program any longer. According to Marco, who just wants what is best for his daughter, District 158 violated their rights many times, and he wants some change.

After countless ignored complaints, requests for records ignored and then denied, requests for Isabella to return to school in person due to health issues related to remote learning, changing their lives and jobs to fight the district to give Isabella what Marco and Johanna believe she deserves, the district voted today to make changes.

The board then went on to address item 14, student outreach. After that, it went to item 15 which was the superintendent update. Scott Rowe talked about how this past week they congratulated teachers and administrators on their 15, 20, and 25 years and how our district has one of the best employee retention rates. He also commented on how they celebrated the retirement of some of their staff. He went through the staff who received educator of the year awards at all the schools in the district. The positions of those nominated include teachers, special education teachers, school nurses, communications directors, and more.

Reminders for the 8th-grade promotion ceremonies taking place next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were said as well as a reminder of the three senior graduation ceremonies taking place this Saturday.

The next item was item 17, which was the unsupervised recess going down from 1 hour to 30 minutes. Also covered in item 17 was mandated sex education in grades 6-12. The district said their sex education is taught in their health classes, but this new bill would include a much more extensive version. The districts’ views on this topic are to leave it up to the local decision-makers due to the religious and political beliefs related to it.

Because this topic is so controversial and the superintendent was worried over the time, money, and other resources that he would have to spend in order to make this education happen, he would leave it up to the local decision-makers.

The final part of the meeting included meeting the new Director of Communications, who is excited to work with the district and grateful for her new position.
The meeting was then adjourned through item 20.