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Officials turn to Title I Plan to help students, families in need

In a 5-0 vote, Bremen High School District 228 officials approved the district’s Title I Plan at the June 20 Board of Education meeting held at Oak Forest High School.

Title 1 Plan involves a set of goals that are aimed towards students who come from low-income backgrounds or for those who perform academically at a low level. Board members Kim Kampwirth and Larry Canning were absent.

The new application process requires all school districts to submit a plan to the Illinois State Board of Education and gain approval before applying for Title I grants.

Students, staff and parents from all four District 228 high schools – which is comprised of Tinley Park, Oak Forest, Bremen and Hillcrest – took part in helping shape the plan, which focused on the following three goals: to reduce the academic achievement gap between subgroups, increase health and social-emotional well-being and continue to boost parental involvement.

“As the buildings develop their Title I Plan, their plan will align with these three overarching goals, but their task will be building-specific,” said Corrine Williams, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.

In order to address the academic achievement gap, officials intend to provide more intensive reading remediation, support an integrated math curriculum and continue to offer SAT preparation programs. Other initiatives include having cross-curricular activities and expanding credit recovery opportunities, as well as hosting tutoring services.

Proposed uses for Title I funds allow the district to address the health and social well-being of students by providing transportation and school supplies to students in need, extending medical, dental and vision services, working with a food service provider to introduce breakfast vouchers, continuing to offer pullout supports and granting tuition coverage for at-risk individuals to participate in the Snowball program and extending professional development to staff on how to support students with social-emotional needs.

As for finding ways to increase parents’ involvement, the four high schools plan to host a quarterly parent program, as well as expanding the district’s adult program for parents who are English learners.

Wishing two employees ‘all the best’

Bremen High School District 228 bids farewell to two of its staff employees.

Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services Tom O’Malley and Information Technology Manager James Donato are signing off from their posts effective July 1.

O’Malley and Donato have both resigned and accepted new positions at Evergreen Park High School District 231. O’Malley will reprise his role as a superintendent, while Donato is to serve as the director of network operations.

“I’d like to publicly thank both of these gentleman for their years of service, loyal service to the students of Bremen High School,” Superintendent Bill Kendall said. “Congratulations, and all the best.”

O’Malley held numerous positions at District 228. He was a business teacher, an assistant principal for student services and district facilities manager. As for Donato, he worked at the district for 15 years. During his time, he worked as a network analyst.

While Donato was not present for the meeting, O’Malley was, and he reflected on his career and experiences at District 228.

“It’s a little bittersweet as I submit and the board approves my resignation,” O’Malley said. “I spent 26 wonderful years of the career here in this great District.”

O’Malley thanked Superintendent Kendall and board members for their contributions to making the district a success.

“I’m very excited for the district because as we look into the future, we positioned ourselves to be doing some great things with our students, with our staff, with our facilities over the next several years,” he shared. “I’m excited to come back and see the wonderful progress that’s going to continue throughout the district.”

Several board members praised O’Malley for his service and commitment to reducing the district’s debt.

“He took our district from about $12 million in debt down to under $4 [million] to about $3.5 [million],” Board member Mark Johnson said. “When I ran in 2015, it was about $6 [million], and he managed to get it [reduced].

“We need to congratulate the people who really worked hard to help our district make it.”


Round it up

A brief recap of District 228 Board of Education action at the June 20 regular meeting

• District 228 officials awarded a contract to Floors Incorporated in the amount of $451,800, which will cover the cost of improvements for the four high schools.

• Phase I construction of artificial turf fields is on track. Work has already begun at Oak Forest. Hillcrest and Bremen are up next. Tinley Park’s installations are to follow afterward.

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