District 201 Board of Education Meeting Notes

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Morton District 201 CrestDistrict 201 Board of Education Meeting Notes

At District 201’s regular monthly Board of Education meeting on September 10, 2014, recognition was the theme of the night. Students were praised for their hard work, teachers congratulated for impressive test results, and the district applauded for its distinguished performance.

Morton West Senior Weisner Perez received recognition for his summer accomplishment. Weisner spent his summer playing on the Dominican National Basketball Team helping them win a bronze medal at the FIBA U-18 basketball tournament. “I’m blessed to have been given the opportunity to play at such an amazing level,” said Weisner at Wednesday’s board meeting. He went on to thank his Morton coaches for their continuous dedication and amazing leadership.  Weisner is not only an outstanding athlete, but an outstanding student ranked 13 in his class with several Ivy League offers.

Morton West Junior Niquan Dawson was congratulated on being the newest member of the Illinois State Board of Education (IBSE) Student Advisory Council.  “Our very own student board member has been chosen to represent the Morton Community,” said Superintendent Dr. Kuzniewski, “He will travel to Champaign [Illinois] for monthly state board meetings and even attend two-day long meetings, showing his serious commitment to the board.” As a student advisor for the ISBE, Niquan will offer insight and perspective to state education policy work.

Amazing students stem from amazing teachers.  AP World History was introduced to freshmen last year, and one-third of students earned a passing grade of three or higher; qualifying them for college credit. The district thanked Ms. Eileen McCormick (History teacher at the Freshman Center) and Mr. David Rose (History teacher at Morton West) on the successful implementation of the new AP course and the effective guidance they offered their students throughout the school year.

“You’ve heard us mention this name before, she’s no stranger to recognition,” announced Assistant Superintendent Truesdale at the board meeting as he recognized Ms. Kane. Ms. Kane, a Math teacher at Morton East, introduced the rigorous AP Calculus BC course and navigated her students to the finish line with impressive results. “In its first year, more than 60% of BC students earned a passing grade of three or higher,” informed Assistant Superintendent Truesdale.

AP Spanish results were equally outstanding, with an impressive 80% of students successfully passing the exam.  The district thanked Spanish teachers Ms. Borjon, Mr. Freytas, and Ms. Mendoza. Ms Mendoza was singled out for her incredible ability to help 100% of her students receive a passing grade of three or higher.

The Board of Education also recognized CFO Ali  Mehanti and his business office for being awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE) by the Association of School Business Officials International . “The COE award shows the district has been working diligently and this accomplishment is second to none,” said Board of Education President, Jeffry Pesek, “It is very important to note to our stakeholders that we are being recognized for being fiscally responsible.”

The final recognition at Wednesday’s board meeting was given to Morton East by A. Rae Clementz—a principal consultant of the Illinois State Board of Education—for being awarded the SIG Grant. “To be awarded the SIG Grant is to say that the Illinois Board of Education truly commits to making Morton East a better institution”,  said Ms. Clementz. “It is evident that this community has the best intentions for their students. This was one of the most competitive grant years ever and J. S. Morton’s application was incredibly well-written and reviewed. You received the highest award than any of the other districts, so congratulations from the Illinois State Board of Education.”

The approval to accept donations was also a topic of discussion at the board meeting. Superintendent Dr. Kuzniewski and School Board President Jeff Pesek thanked donators for their generous contributions. Donators included FGM Architects, Bedford Dental, Berwyn Financial and Insurance Services, Morton Teachers’ Union, Vision Construction, Illinois Municipal Police Association, and Technology Solutions Group.

The final news from Wednesday’s meeting comes in the form of congratulations. School Board Member Kasumba “Kal” Lwanga, was selected to fill the vacant Vice President position. “I know every person in this district believes in Morton, “ said newly appointed School Board Vice President Lwanga, “I am here to remind everyone that board members do exist, we are here to talk to, to be engaged, to be challenged. But I need the community to know that if we want the best for our children, if we want to ask more of them, then we must ask more of ourselves.” Vice President Lwanga went on to say that every member of the school district plays a pivotal and active role in ensuring that they have done everything possible to help a student be successful.

J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 provides quality educational experiences that challenge and enable more than 8,000 students from the communities of Berwyn, Cicero, Forest View, Lyons, McCook, and Stickney as lifelong learners to be productive and responsible members of the global community.  More than 20% of all Latino Students who take Advanced Placement Exams in Illinois are from District 201. District leadership is working to make Morton the leading Latino High School in the nation. The district’s Board of Education is comprised of Board President Jeff Pesek, Vice President Kasumba “Kal” Lwanga, Secretary Jessica Jaramillo-Flores, and members Mark Kraft, Margaret Kelly, Michael Iniquez, and Vincent LaPaglia.  Visit District 201 online at www.Morton201.org.

Michael Flaherty

Blogger, Writer at Illinois News Network
Michael Flaherty is a veteran writer, blogger and media analyst. Email him at [email protected]