TLDW – D155 April Board Meeting


Matt Collins, Prairie Ridge division leader of special education, presented the history of the STRIVE program at the District 155 Board of Education meeting on April 18, 2022.

The District D155 school board meeting was held at Prairie Ridge High School on April 18th, 2022. The Prairie Ridge news team provides the following synopsis to make the information more convenient and accessible. The beginning of each section is hyperlinked to the responding timestamp in the publicly accessible video on the D155 Board’s YouTube channel.

The meeting started with a heartwarming presentation highlighting the STRIVE program which takes place on the first floor of Prairie Ridge High School. The special education division leader Matt Collins spoke to the many skills taught in the program and Sandy Whelan 

spotlighted the community connections the program has developed. A few students from the program also spoke to share their stories about working in the community.

Next was the report by Director of Communications and Community Relations Shannon Podzimek, which began with the D155 district co-op gymnastics team being commended for another year of being state champions. 

The report also included notifying the board of the nine FOIA requests requested this month.

Then came public participation, where members of the community are given three minutes each to speak to the board.

Derek C. opened with how he is an AVID teacher at CLC. He describes how the program is designed to help close the educational gap for students. He goes on to share some of the program’s recent actions as well as the positive impact it has had on the school as a whole.

Mark R. brought up how difficult these past few years have been but despite that, there are still so many amazing accomplishments taking place throughout D155. He ends by mentioning how the D155 board is not paid for their service.

Jamie C. is a special education teacher at CLC who indicated that what others are saying  happens within the district is not like what she experienced. She experiences a giving and empathetic staff who sponsor extracurriculars and care deeply about the students they teach. She continues to express the wonders of the CLC LifesSkills program.

Kim M.  addressed the President of the Teachers Association and the comments made at the last meeting. She disagreed with the idea that previous public participation comments were not focused locally.

Lisa M. is a pediatrician who talked about Sex Education. She described how she started teaching sex ed during the AIDS epidemic and then transitioned into statistics about today’s youth, asking how we prevent these dangers. She believes comprehensive sex education will decrease the dangers many of today’s youth face.

Bruce J. was alarmed about Senate Bill 818 feeling that the age of innocence is behind us. He said a huge wake up call for him was when he discovered his granddaughter didn’t take the Constitution test in middle school. He ends by asking to have an open discussion with the board.

Theodore S. revealed the story told at the previous meeting was about his own child. He questions the choice of schools to make changes without notifying parents. He no longer feels schools are the safe spaces they used to be, where parents didn’t have to worry about what their child was learning. He also brought up Senate Bill 818 and the under reporting of sexual assault in schools. He also invites Board of Education members to sit down to talk.

Laura S. stated the importance of looking at the world but acting locally. She wanted the school to focus more on students passing math and English classes instead of discussing sex ed or history.

Cathy G. stated that when the identity given to one by God is stripped away only bad things follow for both the individual and the community. She goes on to talk about her disappointment in how sex ed is being presented in our schools and ends with her distate for Senate Bill 818.

Following public participation was the Treasurer’s Report by Dr. Kevin Werner:

District 155 was recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting and several service contracts were approved, including with Pepsico.

There was a quick Technology report which requested action by the board to approve a three-year contract with Comcast for internet service which will save the district money over the length of the contract and double bandwidth.

Then another short report on Human Resources by Associate Superintendent of HR Jay Sargeant: Both of the presented items were approved.

Before the board went into Executive Session Superintendent Mr. Steve Olson reiterated the many accomplishments brought up throughout the meeting and how refreshing getting to have traditional graduation for the first time in three years will be for over 1300 seniors.

After the executive session, the board elected to keep minutes closed and destroy verbatim audio recordings.

The next District 155 school board meeting will be held on May 17th at 7:00 pm at the District 155 Center for Education, One South Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, IL 60014.