District board addresses several community concerns at April 11th meeting

Caption: Senior Issac McCumber discusses his experience with the T.A.L.K program. “It’s impacted me and made me who I am today,” McCumber said. Photo taken from the Board of Education’s YouTube livestream.

Addressing a variety of subjects such as approval for a new board member, school district reports, and additional approval for a number of action items, the SD308 Board of Education gathered on Monday, April 11th for their monthly meeting.

To start, the meeting began by swearing in Jared Ploger as a new member of the Board of Education, officiating his new term in the school district.

Board member comments were next on the agenda as individuals from the SD308 community stood at the podium to voice their concerns over a number of issues they felt needed to be addressed. These included bringing in more resources to address mental health in the district, urging staff to properly handle mental health situations with additional training, and more. 

The superintendent report covered district events that happened over the course of last week, commending students on their increased successes and achievements in and out of school. Events like East’s Gear It Forward Midwest Regional Win and Oswego High’s Amplify Student Voices Night were just some that were mentioned that evening.

There was a heightened focus on the Amplify event, where students were able to share their diverse experiences and personal journeys with the community through that night’s festivities. The purpose of Amplify touched the hearts of many of the board members, who assured the community that they would actively take steps to engage the involvement of the youth population.

“We have created the positions of student ambassadors to the Board of Education to allow for student voice to be included in the decisions the Board makes,” Superintendent Dr. John Sparlin said. 

Along with the superintendent report, the student ambassador report was also presented to the board that night. The main point addressed was the high school’s implementation of T.A.L.K. (Teens Activating the Language of Kindness) and the BIONIC (Believe It Or Not I Care) club at East, as well as how it has helped countless students like seniors Sam Mendoza and Issac McCumber, who shared their experiences with these programs in front of the board, build better relationships with one another while fostering a positive environment within the SD308 community.

Next on the board’s agenda was discussing the human resources annual report. Three crucial elements addressed were the recruitment and retainment of a high quality and diverse staff, the maintenance of a balanced budget for each school year, and the discovery of certain ways to increase private and grant funding. 

The traditional housekeeping items were a minimal part of last night’s agenda as board members discussed district financial statements, changes to the student handbook’s dress code, new meeting dates for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, and consolidated district plans. 

Finally, the last items on the agenda were the approvals of several action items and policies where board members voted on whether or not they accepted their implementations into the school district. 

The next Board of Education meeting will take place on Monday, April 25th. 

Beliah Christian is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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