District 203 adopts refreshed co-curricular code for fall 

District 203 administration building sign
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A third time was the charm for a Naperville School District 203 board policy that has been under review for multiple months.

District 203 officials have solidified a revised co-curricular code of participation and an accompanying list of restorative action plans in time for the start of the 2024-25 school year this fall.

Committee review process for co-curricular code

For the second consecutive year, District 203 this spring convened an annual committee that looks into the policy documents and recommends potential changes. School personnel, administrators, coaches, student athletes, and parents are among the panelists.

Chala Holland, assistant superintendent of administrative services, oversaw the committee review process this spring and spoke to some of the overarching themes committee members touched on in meetings this spring.

“Following a robust discussion during the 2022-2023 school year regarding the need to incorporate restorative measures within the co-curricular code, the committee reviewed a draft proposal to implement restorative co-curricular action plans as a way to align our district’s beliefs regarding restorative measures with our actions,” Holland said.

District 203’s board of education had extensive discussions about the proposed policy changes and made some additional amendments, including more specific language on what consequences could be carried out for infractions.

The custom policies and procedures in place in District 203’s board policy expand on a boilerplate document on co-curricular student conduct from the Illinois Association of School Boards’ Policy Reference Education Subscription Service, or PRESS, platform.

In mid-June, several additional changes were incorporated into the policy documents to reflect board members’ feedback.

“Hazing is specifically named, as is bullying,” Holland said. “It articulates due process measures, mentioning that there’s always an opportunity — even though this was already happening — for students to share their perspective regarding what they experienced prior to a consequence being issued.”

District 203 board member shares concerns   

District 203’s board of education voted, 5-2, in favor of adopting the amended policy at the elected body’s most recent meeting on Monday, June 17.

In recent meetings, board member Kristin Fitzgerald has peppered administrators with a series of questions and concerns about the policy changes added to the document after the committee finished its work.

“We haven’t had a chance to talk to students about this — to talk to students about what is clear, to talk to students about what they thought, to talk to their parents about it,” Fitzgerald said of the more recent changes. “All of the people that are normally involved in this advisory capacity … we haven’t gotten their feedback.”

Ultimately, Fitzgerald cast a “no” vote, as did board member Melissa Kelley Black.

“I don’t think it’s ready, so I can’t support it,” Fitzgerald said.

Other board members agree to forge ahead   

District 203’s administrators have been asking the board to act on the revised policy early this summer, before code of conduct handbooks and related documents are printed in time for the start of school in the fall.

Administrators also have spoken against making any policy changes midway through the upcoming school year, to avoid confusion.     

Board member Donna Wandke said she was comfortable moving ahead with a “yes” vote, with the understanding continual reviews and recommendations will take place.

“I feel like we need change in this policy, and I feel like the timing of it is critical so that we can bring that change to students in the fall,” Wandke said.

Several board members, including Joe Kozminski, advocated for having reviews more than once a year because of the complexity around the policy.

“I do agree that we do need to have a couple of meetings, one right at the beginning of the school year, where we get input from students and parents and talk about the implementation and what this whole thing means,” Kozminski said.

Board President Kristine Gericke shared similar sentiments. She said, “It’s always evolving. It isn’t just you craft it and leave it alone forever. I think the idea of looking at this policy more than once during the year, at different times, to get feedback … that will help me vote ‘yes’ tonight. We can figure out what’s working and what’s not working.”

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