By Bob Balgemann, REPORTER

The Boone County City-County Coordinating Committee is one of seven standing committees of the County Board. This one consists of five members, each representing the Belvidere City Council and the County Board. Co-chairs are Alderman Dan Snow and County Board member Cathy Ward. The Committee deals with issues that affect both the City and County. Among them is the Public Safety Building (PSB), which houses the 9-1-1 Dispatching center along with Police officers and Sheriff’s Deputies. PSB’s operating expenses are shared by the City and County. In an effort to become more knowledgeable of what other governments are doing in the county, the Committee invites representatives to appear at its monthly meetings to provide that kind of detailed information.

New Superintendent for the Belvidere Community Unit School District 100, Dan Woestman, was the most recent community Representative to share with the Committee. He provided information on what the District is hoping to achieve in the 2016-17 school year. The five areas of focus are communication, customer care, long-term planning, curriculum development and resource allocation. Here is some specific information about each area:


The goal is to build better habits in providing information for both internal and external stakeholders. Monthly parent newsletters and weekly internal staff updates are part of the Communication Plan. Newsletters are in both English and Spanish. Woestman showed a copy of a mailer that went to the Community in August. It recognized athletes and the Running Start Program. It also updated the District’s financial status and the Dual Language Program. This year, all sixth, seventh, and ninth-grade students received laptop computers, which they are allowed to keep. The laptops, also known as Chrome Books, are part of their curriculum and part of the way they do their schooling.

Customer Service

That goal is to listen and have an opportunity for people in the school to get feedback and forward that information to the Central District Office. The purpose is to determine what is working and what is not working.

Long-term Planning

The Superintendent said it had been almost a decade since there was a large, comprehensive, planning process involving the Community. So, the District is re-engaging in a Strategic Planning Process. A 40-person team has been created. It includes County Administrator Ken Terrinoni and other community leaders; fourteen District 100 staff members; eight Administrators, two Board Members, four parents, and six students. This team will meet monthly over the course of four or five months, with its findings being reported sometime in 2017. Areas four and five, curriculum development and resource allocation, are core processes in all school districts, the Superintendent said. Questions came from Committee Co-Chair Ward, who wondered how enrollment compared to previous years, the percentage of free and reduced lunches being served, and the laptop program. Woestman replied that the student count is only down by three or four this year. Kindergarten, first and second grades have fewer students than at the middle school and high school levels. He said 42 percent of the student body is receiving free or reduced lunches.

The goal of the laptop program is to provide one for every middle school and high school student over the next two years. Laptops are a more personalized method of teaching, he said, with teachers transitioning into Coaches to help students experience how to obtain information for their specific needs. Thirty students having their own laptops is like having thirty teachers and one Coach to help each one find what they need. Another question was whether District 100 had any vocational programs through Rock Valley College. Woestman answered that very few are currently available. Ward asked if there were any teacher shortages in the District.

Boone County City-County Coordinating Committee Meeting.

Boone County City-County Coordinating Committee Meeting.

The Superintendent replied that Special Education teachers for all grade levels and Bilingual teachers are difficult to find. In addition, certified staff such as Psychologists and Speech Pathologists are in short supply.

Officials from North Boone Community Unit School District 200 have been invited to attend the Committee’s November meeting.


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