Verbal agreement with Soldier Field for in-person graduation ceremony, info on reopening and more at April LSC meeting

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The LSC at last month’s March 18 meeting.

By Finley Williams, Editor-in-Chief

At April’s Lane Local School Council (LSC) meeting on the 15th, Alumni Association President Michelle Weiner encouraged seniors to apply for Lane Tech Alumni Association (LTAA) scholarships, stressing the $180,000 in funds available for students.

Additionally, Principal Tennison announced that Lane had reached a verbal agreement with Soldier Field to host Lane’s graduation ceremony. (See the principal report section for more information.)

Read on for more highlights from the April LSC meeting.

Public Participation

LSC Chairperson Emily Haite said that she received one email before the meeting in which someone asked why students returning for in-person learning were required to have CPS Chromebooks. Haite responded that it was a CPS mandate, so she was not entirely sure.

Haite said she received another email concerning CPS’ focus on a “healing-centered framework” for students during school reopening, to which Haite again responded that she has limited information on that subject, as it is not within the LSC’s purview.

In response to questions she said she received about graduation, Haite said that Principal Tennison would discuss tentative plans during his principal report.

Before she opened the floor to speakers, Haite reminded the audience that public participation is not for question and answer, but is rather a space to make a comment, and hopefully have one’s concerns addressed in the reports.

The evening’s only public participant, Lee Sustar, had a question about how parents can engage through the LSC or administration about safety or student engagement issues when hybrid learning starts. Haite said that the LSC would try to answer that question in reports.

Reports 

Principal Report

During his report, Tennison said that the administration has settled on a tentative date for a senior graduation ceremony at Soldier Field and is currently awaiting the contract, but no specific details will be announced until the contract is final and has been CPS-approved. He added that they would need an emergency LSC meeting to approve the funding.

During check approvals later in the meeting, the council tentatively approved the approximately $25,000 needed to reserve Soldier Field (see Check Approvals section for more). If this amount does not change, the LSC will not need to approve it again.

Tennison added that the school would not charge seniors any additional fees for graduation: “It’s not appropriate, so we won’t do it,” he said.

At bottom, Tennison said, Lane and Soldier Field currently have a verbal agreement. After they receive a contract and CPS approves the contract, and then the LSC approves the spending, Tennison will announce the ceremony’s date and other details to the school community.

On the subject of reopening, Tennison said that COVID test results and contact tracing are communicated and controlled by CPS. The administration will not know anything about a positive case aside from the fact that one occurred, according to Tennison.

Tennison said that desks in all classrooms are six feet apart, and the College and Career Center, library, and civics room will be open for non-LTAC students who want to eat school lunch in the building. Each of those rooms has a 20 student capacity.

After school, he added, students should not linger on the campus.

“We’re asking you to just be a good citizen and go home,” he said.

“Anticipate that there’s going to be confusion, and it’s going to be OK,” he said about adjusting to hybrid learning and new protocols in the building.

Tennison referred parents to the school’s reopening FAQ for more information.

He added that the number of cameras in the building has increased from about 20 to roughly 120, and there is also a new security room where a security officer will be stationed the entire day. This increased security came about partially because of last summer’s school resource officer removal.

Professional Personnel Leadership Committee (PPLC) Report

Teacher Representative Katherine Gomez, on behalf of the PPLC, reported that the committee had established a framework for sharing what they’ve learned about equitable grading to the broader school community, and would soon begin disseminating that information.

Friends of Lane (FOL) Report

Friends of Lane representative Amy Cooper informed the council that FOL appointed Susie Hauser as next year’s treasurer. Hauser was formerly a tax specialist who dealt with large and small clients alike, according to Cooper.

Cooper also said that FOL raised around $412,000 this school year, half of which came from the group’s annual appeal. The other half, according to Cooper, was from various fundraising initiatives, like a recent concert featuring staff from the Lane Music Department. Cooper said that most of the $412,000 went toward purchasing computers and other technology for Lane.

The group’s “principal reception” will be hosted online on April 29, Cooper said. This event is for the roughly 20 people who donated over $250 to FOL, and the eight or nine who donated over $2,500, according to Cooper.

FOL is in the midst of college preparatory programming for parents, according to Cooper, and the group is hosting a session about the Common Application on May 5.

Cooper added that the group is in the process of planning their annual fundraising Green and Gold Gala.

Alumni Association Report

Lane Tech Alumni Association (LTAA) President Michelle Weiner delivered that organization’s report. She reminded the attendees that the LTAA is in its annual scholarship season, and that there are 28 college scholarships worth $180,000 available for seniors. She said the organization has only received 78 applications this year, compared to 618 last year, and encouraged students to apply.

Weiner also said that the association’s proposal to dedicate the field at Lane Stadium to Fritz Pollard, a Lane alumnus and the first Black coach in the National Football League, is still in the works, but they have submitted the necessary paperwork to CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson. The association is also working on events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of women being admitted to Lane, Weiner said.

Both projects are scheduled for completion in early September, but may be pushed later into the academic year.

New Business

Symbol Naming Committee

The Symbol Naming Committee, tasked with finding a new symbol for Lane, had no update, Haite said, because they received the day of the meeting something they would need to send out the mascot survey. She did not offer any more specifics.

Check approvals

School Clerk Jill Woods presented nine checks for approval:

  1. A $16,316.75 payment to Jostens for 2020-21 yearbooks, which students paid for through the school.
  2. A $64,192 payment to Apple to replace last month’s funding request for MacBooks. The Apple representative misquoted the cost of the computers at about $1,100 each. They will actually cost roughly $1,800 each.
  3. A $11,666.67 payment to ATI Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy for Lane athletic training services for all winter season sports.
  4. A $11,666.67 payment to ATI for athletic training services for the spring sports season.
  5. A $17,300 payment to Colfax Corporation to prep 11 classrooms for projector installation.
  6. A $98,225 payment for projector installation for 47 classrooms.
  7. A $73,152.30 payment to Grainger for locks in order to secure lockers when students are in the building during in-person learning. Parent Representative Patricia O’Keefe said that the school should seek reimbursement with the district’s COVID-19 funding because this expense would not exist if there were not a pandemic. Tennison and Woods said they will keep that possibility on their radars.
  8. A $22,927.77 payment to Full Line Printing for 2021-22 student and faculty planners.

The above purchases were all approved unanimously. The council also approved a $25,132 payment to Soldier Field for the seniors’ graduation ceremony, with the understanding that CPS must first approve the contract between Lane and Soldier Field.

Woods said that there were no fundraisers or negative accounts.