September School Board Meeting Recap

Daniela Jimenez, Editor-in-Chief

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On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, the second School Board meeting of the new school year was held at the Admin Center. Joliet West JROTC color guard kicked off the board meeting by posting the colors of our nation. The first topics consisted of the Superintendent Reports. This consisted of the Ten-Day Report, District Achievement Presentation, and the Suicide & Depression Awareness and Prevention Presentation. The Ten-Day Report was given by Dr. Karla Guseman, where she brought up the increase in students within the District. The District Student Achievement Presentation was given by curriculum director, Dianne McDonald. McDonald went over the PSAT and SAT scores of the graduating classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022. She explained how the SAT at the National and State level have different benchmarks and how that ends up putting out different data. After McDonald’s presentation, she was thanked by the board for her work and the transition her department made from the ACT to the SAT.

The Suicide & Depression Awareness and Prevention Presentation was given by Patty Sewing and John Randich Jr. The presentation consisted of the data regarding suicide attempts and suicidal ideation. At the Joliet West Campus, there were 77 attempts or suicidal ideations last year. The attempts were reported by parents reaching out to inform a school counselor of concern and/or a student asking for help themselves. Teachers have been acknowledged with alerting school personnel of concerns as well. Currently, there is no data being collected as to why students are committing these acts. Board Member Mrs. Michelle Stiff asked for the top three antecedents that lead teens to attempt, Sewing responded, “We have not been collecting that data but that is something that we could start collecting data on. If I had to go with my gut [you know] it’s a lot of, believe it or not, breakups you know things like that horrible home life in their perspective.” The top reasons of mental illness and physical/sexual abuse, according to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, that may lead teens to commit suicide, were not suggested by Sewing in her report.

Another major update came from the safety committee report, provided by Board Member, Jim Allison. This dealt with the Student Handbook Language Change Request. The proposal is to clarify that the language on weapons in the student handbook appear exactly as in the policy. This motion was rejected 4 to 3 by the board members. Mrs. Megan Cappell requested that that item be tabled for another time.

Additionally, Joliet Township High School is currently seeking Joliet Central and West parents, students, faculty, and support staff to serve on the Student Handbook & Discipline Policy Review Team. The purpose of this committee is to review and recommend changes to district policies including bullying, harassment, and disciplinary codes found in the student planner. The meetings will be held in the Multipurpose Room at Joliet Central High School from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on 9/24, 9/25, 10/8, 10/22, 11/5, 11/12 and 12/3/19. Committee membership should include certified staff, paraprofessionals, clerical, security, parents and students. Please email Assistant Principal Jo Wooten at jwooten@jths.org if you are interested.

The next School Board Meeting will be held on October 15th, 2019 at the Central Campus instead of the Administration Building.

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