There is a god!
Does anyone know the reason why she left? Did she get a new position? Did she resign in order to not get fired?Her leaving makes me happy. She obviously didn't really know what she was doing. While she was nice to me, and I consider "niceness" a necessary skill in any workplace, it is no substitute for not doing your job well. I hope she finds a new job better suited to her skill set.
Will the BOD do the right thing (perhaps even the required action, per her employee agreement)and compel her to reimburse the D181 for her "graduate degree" tuition?
Sadly the decision, largely made by the prior administration but somewhat continued under the current leadership, to allow individuals to occupy roles that had specific Core Qualifications that went unfilled has been an ongoing sore spot in the district.I am sure such mismatches are more common than many would like to admit even in the most demanding organizations; I have little doubt that the pool of folks that truly have excellent technical skills and the necessary personality traits to excel in a district like ours is disappointingly small but I sincerely hope the proper personal can help get the district back on track.Many parents that understand the harsh realities of non-governmental employment have been especially appalled at the gentle ways staff who apparently have been unable to perform the duties required by their job descriptions have been dealt with. While some of these people undoubtedly possess other valuable talents, the degree to which the BOE (especially flagrant under its prior titular head) has tolerated such personnel mismatches goes a long way toward explaining lack of progress in critical areas of student learning.I am hopeful that more effective leadership will be instrumental in restoring district's focus on achievement and accountability for all staff and by extension all students regardless of their needs and capabilities.
While I am no fan of Dawn Benaitis in her role as Director of Learning and Curriculum, I wish her well in her future endeavors. I hope whomever hires her, hires her for a job that she is qualified for and that she can do with integrity. That was certainly not the case here in D181.
Yes, this is good news. Now the BOE should turn its attention to the remaining administrators and ask if they are adding value to the district. Answer? No. Starting with the top on down. They are all, including Ms Benaitis, paid generously. We have the ball rolling, let's continue clearing house.
Finally. Can she leave sooner?
11:43 - Ditto for "Sayonara 1."
After listening to the bumbling Finance Report last night and admission that members of the Finance committee were instrumental in creating the new reports that included reports prepared by the outside auditor,PMA, it is my opinion that another overpaid high level administrator needs to go. Even simple questions he was asked about the content of the reports were deflected or answers deferred. If he can't do the work himself as other past Asst. Sups of finance have, then why isn't he being held accountable and cut loose? The way that Administrators in D181 get away with stuff is beyond absurd.
I really hope that you don't talk about people like this in front of your children. It is shameful how negative some of these posts are about others. Can't you just stick to objective commentary and not be so unkind?
I very much agree with 7:33 pm. I believe the purpose of this blog is to allow individuals to express their opinions on issues. However, as 7:33 pm expressed, it is shameful how negative and disrespectful some of the posts are. Constructive criticism is one thing, but demeaning, mean-spirited, hurtful comments serve absolutely no purpose and benefit no one. In my opinion, jay wick is spot on in saying that, unfortunately, the previous administration placed individuals in administrative positions that they did not qualify for and had no related pervious experience. For absolutely no reason that I can think of, the current administration not only kept these people in the administration, but even extended their roles and responsibilities. Thank goodness these individuals are leaving D181. They never should have been placed in the D181 administration in the first place. We need to move forward with the newly selected administrators and support them in every way we can. There is a lot of work to be done. Fixing the curriculum situation won't happen over night, but, with our support, I'm convinced it can happen. Let's welcome our two new administrators and demonstrate that the D181 community can be very supportive and is not the difficult bunch that we are reputed to be. Having high expectations is ok and our district should expect excellence from our administrators. Hopefully, the our superintendent will allow these two new administrators to select their own team members and will NOT attempt to elevate current district employees to administrative positions where they have no background and don't belong.
Are you serious? You should tell your children so that they learn a lesson to do their jobs well. i consider a bloated, overpaid government worker, who will continue to leech off the public for the rest of their lives not only unkind, but a form of corruption.
I totally agree that we need to move forward with our new administrators. The problem is our superintendent has demonstrated poor decision making since he was hired two years ago. Don White allowed the two soon-to-be-departed administrators to stay on under his watch and he even promoted them! He is not the superintendent D181 needs, and I certainly don't have faith in his ability to move the district forward.
Everyone has to understand that some families have been more affected by all the changes in the past years, hence the anger, frustration. We can't get those years back.
Ok, 10:11 and 10:15, what does D181 do? I agree with you, 10:11, I too have been disappointed in many of Don White's decisions, especially the elevation of Kurt Schneider to head the D of L. That should never have happened. Despite the best efforts of the BOE when they did the superintendent search, we have a relatively inexperienced, naive administration for a district like D181. Unfortunately, this really holds true in the area of curriculum. However, now an experienced, knowledgable, hard-working individual is coming into the position of curriculum head. Also, it appears that the new SpEd person is equally as strong. This is a step in the right direction...finally! I debate constantly the question whether D181 should replace Dr. White or can D181 just deal with the current superintendent and his two assistants and, hopefully, they all will learn what they need to do and operate to the caliber expected in D181. The Finance Dept. really needs to step it up too and not just depend on PMA to do their job. I think to do a new superintendent search now would, unfortunately, be even more disastrous to D181. I'm not convinced there is better out there that's willing to come to D181. The BOE has developed a strategic plan through an enormous amount of work. The BOE now needs to establish goals for the current Administration tied to this plan and HOLD THE ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTABLE! Dr. White needs to produce proper results under this new strategic plan or go!I feel terrible for the families and their students who have been negatively affected by the upheaval in D181 over the last 8-10 years. I don't blame you at all for feeling angry and frustrated. We all want the best for our children and that's why we all came to D181 in the first place. Hopefully, the tide is now going to turn for the better.
9:17 - Yes, I am very serious! Speaking poorly about others in front of my children - or anyone for that matter - has nothing to do with teaching children how do to a job well. Are you serious when you say that the way to educate children about the importance of doing things well is to warn them that if they don't, people will be mean to them and talk about them harshly on blogs? I would assume that those you speak of believe they have done their jobs, it just isn't the way many think it should have been done. As a trained mediator, perhaps I am coming from a different mind-set. But - I will always believe that treating people with kindness and speaking about controversial and conflicted issues will yield better results, progress and positive change when you use objective and constructive words of criticism versus negative adjectives.
Well said 10:19!
10:42, I agree that we need respectful constructive criticism. However, that's easier said than done when it comes to something as important as our children. Mistakes that happen now can snowball into much larger problems later on. Like when the district did the grade compaction and a lot of 4th graders needed tutoring. If they don't learn the important material now, they won't get the good classes in high school. That leads to not getting into a good college, which means eventually not getting a good job. I realize it takes more than one bad year to get all the way to not getting a good job, but it could just be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I remember in the post about Dr. Schneider leaving, someone posted that these people don't deserve our respect, but our scorn. I can understand where they're coming from, however I disagree. We shouldn't go out of our way to help them, but we also don't have to go out of our way to be mean. Many people forget that you can be neutral.
Spot on 12:37!Those (now 6th grade)kids are still feeling the ill effects of the grade compaction disaster/experiment.The past eight years of rudderless leadership and educational malpractice has hurt all of my children and all the kids within the District who were subjected to complete idiocy. The affected children will never get those years back and their development has been compromised. End of story!Even after it was discovered that the "research" behind the Learning For All Plan was fudged, the Department of Learning was kept intact. In the private sector, heads would rightfully roll. Here, nobody even mentioned it and the District continued to perpetuate its nightmarish Orwellian double speak. Now out of nowhere, the plan has been "archived," whatever that means and the people who foisted this garbage upon our kids are slowly leaving. Good riddance!We are well past the time to concern ourselves with hurt feelings and the perceived benefits of staying positive. The fact is that these hired professionals did a horrible job and children suffered for it. Rather than sugar coat facts with platitudes and wishing them luck in future endeavors, honesty should rule the day. Being straight forward and telling them that their performance sucked would actually help them improve more than just wishing them luck so they can make the same mistakes again and again.
We have declined several comments today that we believe are too personal in their content and attacks.
Please know that when educators resign or move on to other positions many times, if not all the time, it is because these individuals have been told they are not going to be rehired. I think we need to give the BOE a lot of credit for the exodus of a couple of questionable D181 administrators.
Perhaps folks who misunderstand how the role of an informed critic is different than that of a mindless attacker would do well to examine the lengths that some of us have undertaken to apply such standards uniformly. I have called out the hosts of this blog for allowing anonymous posts while applauding them for their continued dedication to providing a forum.While others have danced around the fact that the district has been less than methodical in approaching the failed referendum I have been very public in calling out those missteps as critical failings that likely make it impossible for kids any older than 4th grade to sidestep the pitfalls of HMS.I have tirelessly called out those who attempt to use their elected office to further a personal agenda, going so far as investing my time and resources to campaign against such abuses.In examples ranging from the current Presidential primary races to individual philosophical /ethical debates to questions of whether developing economies will ever achieve parity with more established powers, thoughtful voices understand that disagreement is a much more powerful factor than polite withdrawal. Too often concerns of detachment & "political correctness" breed apathy and a preference for appearance over substance.https://counterview.org/2015/11/02/excessive-political-correctness-stifles-progress-as-much-as-excessive-license-and-disrespect/http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/no-more-political-correctness-for-trump-supporters/http://philosophytalk.org/shows/political-correctness-1I would hope that we strive to teach our children to critically evaluate disparate information, vigorously debate opinions and instill each person with respect for the dignity of all.
8:25: We have decided to delete the content of your comment. Until we know whether the administrator in question has a new job lined up, we want to minimize specific negative comments parents who interacted with her regarding their children had. We hope you understand.
I'm at a complete loss as to why my comment was not posted while other comments more negative than my own were posted. I suspect all of the ones commenting on how Dawn Benitis so negatively impacted our children at Monroe via direct actions were not posted, which is truly a tragedy. We have all suffered in silence for fear of retribution by administration if we speak up. Now we still can't even respectfully share what was done to our children I felt my post could not have been more respectful. I'm saddened that even in the forum of sharing with our parents my daughter still does not have a voice. Her father and I actually popped a bottle of champagne tonight. You could not even remotely post what I really feel about Dawn Benitis and what she did to my daughter and to so many other children at Monroe. Professional malpractice at its worst! Sadly, we still don't have a voice.
I totally agree. Perhaps blog didn't post it because they want to make sure she gets a job somewhere else? Unfortunately, your (and our children) never got such consideration under her watch. Hard to believe that we parents are expected to treat staff and administrators with kindness and respect when our defenseless children were treated like garbage.
10:35: I agree with you, but at the same time, I understand that everyone probably just wants certain administrators to exit quietly so that the district can finally move forward in the area of curriculum. Unfortunately, we can't change the past, but we can hope for a better future for all of our children.
Had the administration and BOE done their jobs and corrected the poor administrative behavior immediately, OR, fired people after the first 3 years of nonsense, parents would be far more hopeful and trusting. It is inconceivable that anyone could ask parents to not only forgive, but to also completely forget about the years of poorly conceived programs and decisions. Once trust and respect is lost, it takes a long, long time to earn it back. No, we can't change the past, but in the future, the BOE needs to immediatley hold the admin accountable when they disregard parent and BOE direction. If the BOE does not do this, then a better future for our children is impossible.
Commenters shouldn't keep lumping all the BOE members together when criticizing D181. The curriculum mess was created by the BOE that approved the Learning for All Plan. They never should have done that. They never should have approved the promotions and hiring of inexperienced internal employees to fill key central administrative positions. The current board has been working steadily to reverse the damage caused, both by (hopefully) hiring better curriculum administrators and reinstating tiered learning to properly address each student's true academic potential. It is the administration that has been subpar throughout this whole debacle and even with the imminent departures of the dept. of learning administrators, there are still central administrators left who should be broomed out the door as well. Unfortunately, unless a majority of the board decides to hold White accountable for not firing underperforming administrators, nothing else will change. We should support the BOE members who have been acting to hold the administration accountable in the curriculum area and hope that they can convince one or two others to demand accountability from White in all areas -- especially finance. It is embarrassing to listen to finance report presentations (or lack thereof) at the BOE meeting podcasts. I cringed listening to last week's. What is Surma going to do now that his top assistants have quit?
I got about 6 emails that online registration was open and packets were sent home on this. I have been trying to register for 3 days and I keep seeing this message pop up: "We have been informed by Infinite Campus that they are in the process of completing maintenance on District 181’s Online Registration website and completion of the Online Registration process for the 2016-17 school year cannot be completed at this time."
Ken Surma will have a difficult time with finances now that he has no one to lean on. We should remember who brought Surma here in the first place, Don White.I hope the board of education sees the handwriting on the wall for who these people are and what they represent. But I have a feeling the focus on the referendum will again be another distraction. The board gave a directive for tiers in math last spring that was not partially implemented until just before the election. This is not the accountability we need.
9:22: I am not sure if you are referring to 6:09, I wrote it. The BOE works as a team. It is obvious to all that some BOE members are serving the public and value transparency. It is also obvious that SOME do not. A couple of members have used the BOE as a forum to force their own will upon the public, while other members seem truly concerned with filling the actual needs of students and the community. Anyone who has ever listened or watched even half of a board meeting can easily see the difference between these types of members. Or, they can spot the member(s) who don't fit into either of those groups, but are content to sit on the sidelines and complacently allow our district to sink. Often times, those members do not bother to show up. My comment was not meant to lump all BOE members as the same, because we all know they are not. The only reason I do not specifically mention the names of those who I feel are doing a terrible job is because I don't want to embarrass them. After listening to the last board meeting, though, I may change my mind. The way the last meeting ran was a travesty. Many of those board members no longer deserve the courtesy of remaining unnamed because their actions are directly and negatively impacting the students, the community, and the teachers.We know these unworthy members know how to cooperate because we all saw the fixed process that the president and a couple other board members utilized when selecting the officers. As usual, it was obvious that a few of the board members got together before the meeting in order to arrange their alliances. No, not all BOE members were involved in this, but the fact that no one else on the board called them out - in public- was disappointing. That being said, I understand why none of the other board members wanted to point out the scheming behavior in a public meeting - it would be uncomfortable and embarrassing to the people who engaged in that behavior. However, this is the problem. If each and EVERY Board of Education member does not behave in an honest, transparent & cooperative manner, the entire BOE TEAM suffers. If half a basketball team has all stars on it, yet the other half has no idea how to play basketball, the team is doomed. Unfortunately, our children are on that team, too. We parents were parents cut from the team a few years ago, the only adults left are the BOE members. That is why this blog exists. No, not all board members are awful. Some are amazing and we are truly thankful for them. We appreciate their work. But the actions of others, in particular the president, have very disappointing.
I was just talking to a teacher in the district. Apparently, the entire district staff got an e-mail from Dr. White saying that Dr. Schneider has not been to work for 2 weeks due to "personal" reasons and don't know when he'll be back. I'm sorry, but I find this ridiculous. I'll be a big enough person and hope everything goes well for Dr. Schneider, but if he hasn't worked in 2 weeks and gave no indication when he'll return, Dr. Schneider should be let go immediately. He's in charge of the education of our neediest students. We need someone there to ensure they get what they need.
Oops, forgot to add: I hope Dr. Schneider's absence isn't some sort of lame duck, final power play since he accepted another job in a different district. If that's what this is, that's petty. Reminds me the first D86 board meeting after the last board election. Dr. Skoda delayed the meeting, yet phoned the rest of the board that he was "on his way". I attended that meeting. He never showed up. And since they didn't have a quorum, they couldn't proceed to start the meeting. Fortunately, the district's general counsel decided to swear in the new board members so they would have the quorum.Plus, with the College of DuPage, one of their board members resigned, and the other 6 members had 2 of their own groups "cliques". When one group of 3 members called a meeting, the other 3 wouldn't show up so no quorum.I'm sorry, but this pettiness is inexcusable. I don't care if you're a lame duck or don't like your other board members, don't get politics get in the way of educating our children.
Yet another example of our weak superintendent, Don White, and our board of education for allowing an employee to just vanish. Is Schneider still getting paid? I bet he is. What about all the IEP meetings and special education issues that legally must be dealt with? Who is overseeing special education in the district? Several terminations need to take place. Why isn't the board president doing anything about this?
If an administrator - any administrator - is out for more than one week on an unplanned absence, it is (in my opinion) Dr. White's responsibility to make sure that all of that administrator's obligations are being fulfilled by someone else. Has he done this? If an administrator has personal reasons for being absent, they must still provide an explanation to Dr. White. Per their contracts, they have a certain number of personal days they can use if approved by Dr. White. This particular administrator has 20 paid sick days each year of which 3 can be used for personal days. (see: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/hccsdil/Board.nsf/files/9KMKNU52983E/$file/Schneider_5_30_14.pdf) In addition he has 3 bereavement days. Sick days will accumulate over time if they are not used. If his personal reasons are for illness, then he can use his sick days. However, he must actually be sick and one would hope that proper documentation is being sought by Dr. White and the HR dept. Dr. Schneider's personal reasons are none of our business, so no speculation should be published on this blog, but if it is the obligation of the administration to ensure that reasons for being absent are confirmed in writing. I wish Dr. Schneider well, but also hope that he isn't taking advantage of the overly generous (in my opinion) sick day policy the administrators have built into their contracts. All benefits, from salary to paid sick days are funded by taxpayers and the BOE, as fiduciaries of our tax dollars, need to ensure that everything is on the up and up.....
I agree with 2:59. It is none of our business why any D181 employee is using personal days. But it is Dr. White and the BOE's responsibility to ensure that everything is verified. By no means am I suggesting that anything ill-toward has occurred now or in the past with administrators who have used extended sick days right before leaving D181, but they must insist that the HR department confirm that no fraud has or ever will be committed on D181 taxpayers.
I hear the central office is pretty quiet these days with so many central office admins gone (for good???). Two from the Dept. of learning (who seem to be "out of the office") who have resigned effective June 30 and 2 from the Business office, one who resigned effective almost immediately. The ones of most concern are the business office resignations, since it is quite concerning listening to meetings and hearing lack of substance, understanding or knowledge from the Asst. Sup. of Business and Operations.
The rumor mill is swirling. Can anyone confirm if its true that Schneider is out for the rest of the year? And Benaitis hasn't been seen in weeks. Is she gone. When parents have called they've been told they are both unavailable. Who exactly is doing their jobs?
This is really where the BOE needs to show some backbone and leadership. Sorry if the local papers call this micromanaging. Clearly, two senior well paid administrators have found other jobs. It seems like they have decided to go on an extended spring break funded by the taxpayers.In the real world, people change jobs all the time. A good employee gives notice, works to complete current projects and hands over projects to his or her supervisor or whomever is designated to do the job. A good employee values his or her reputation and does not want to leave on bad terms even if the job change was not entirely their idea. A good supervisor would insist that employees show up and perform their jobs even if their long term plans or elsewhere. I don't wish any ill will on the departing employees, but their new districts need to be fully aware of this behavior. Don White is not doing his job. The BOE seem to be sitting around passive, although I suspect at least a few of them are pushing for some action. If the two senior administrators are no longer working here, their paychecks need to stop NOW. This is really not that hard. Stop and consider if you owned a car wash or restaurant and two employees handed in their notice. You would thank them for their service and work out a mutually agreed termination date. You would not pay them for two months work they did not do. Why should the D181 taxpayers pay for work not being done?More important, who is doing this work? Who is meeting with parents, the teachers, and filling the needs of the student population?
Check Mani & Pedi. She is usually there during the day...
I emailed Schneider a few weeks ago. No response except he was out of the office. Is he still out? If this is the case, White and the board should be paying for Schneider's recent paychecks THEMSELVES. If they find it so acceptable to pay someone for not responding to emails or showing up to work, let them pay for it - not us. If you don't use your sick days, you lose them. You cannot transfer them. This is not earned vacation time. This appears to be an inappropriate use of taxpayer money. We have all had to stick it out through jobs we don't like, but none of us ever got this perk. Why does he? Especially at public expense.
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