Tour helpful to Libertyville board
Butterfield School Principal Candice Kehoe addresses the District 70 Board of Education members as they start their tour of the district's schools. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 10, 2012 12:00PM
LIBERTYVILLE — They peered into a boiler room, walked a wheelchair-accessible ramp in a music class, viewed a congestion-saving bus turnaround and experienced a lighter and brighter third-grade wing.
But the highlight of the five-school morning tour by members of the District 70 Board of Education Thursday, Oct. 4, had to be watching first-graders create terrariums.
“This is a blast to be out here to talk to students, teachers and principals and to understand why these improvements are helpful,” said board Vice President Tom Vickers after chatting with a first-grader about the dirt she scooped into her plastic container.
Four of seven District 70 school board members toured Butterfield, Adler Park, Copeland Manor, Highland Middle and Rockland schools from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., viewing a variety of improvements made for the 2012-13 school year.
Board of Education members have toured the school buildings before, but those visits traditionally have fallen on a weekend with no students and teachers present. This tour was set up specifically to give the board members who could fit it into their work-day a view of the action.
“You can actually see it functioning as a school, not just an empty building,” Vickers said.
School Board President Maryann Ovassapian agreed that the school-day visit helped.
“I’m a very visual person. I like to see this,” Ovassapian said.
There’s no comparison, the board members agreed, to reading about an electronic automation board on paper and viewing it working in person.
“It solidifies our decisions,” board member Julie Damenti said. “Being hands-on, being in the school — especially when classes are in session — you get to see the benefits of our decisions in action.”
Butterfield School Principal Candice Kehoe packed six planned stops into her 30 minutes with the group, even squeezing in a couple of extras, one to view the new interactive white board in the Learning Center and another to check out the iPad tracking system in the new classroom for children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
“We have a great relationship with our board,” Kehoe said. Meeting with board members firsthand during a school day “makes them connect more with the schools and it’s kind of rewarding, I think, for all their hard work.”