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The School District 65 Strategic Planning Committee reconvened on Dec. 4 to consider community and staff input that had been provided in five public meetings during October concerning the draft five-year strategic plan approved by the Committee on Sept. 13.

Most of the Committee’s four-hour meeting on Dec. 4 focused on proposed changes to a draft statement of “core values.” The Committee approved many revisions, most of which streamlined or simplified the earlier draft, without altering the underlying intent.

Consideration of the draft core value that stated, “We value the opportunity for every child to attend a neighborhood school,” resurrected a discussion of whether the Committee should support the establishment of a school in the Fifth Ward and what was meant by a “neighborhood school.” The draft of that value now states, “We value a system of schools that supports families, neighborhoods and community.”

The Committee decided by a wide margin not to include a separate “strand” of goals to address special education. Before the vote, the Committee’s facilitator, Bill Attea, summarized the positions advanced by proponents and opponents of the proposal.

He said proponents felt that special education was not getting sufficient attention in the District. He said the opponents felt that special education should be addressed in the existing stands of goals, which deal with the curriculum, instruction and other issues, and that if the District created a separate strand of goals for special education, why not create separate strands of goals for other issues as well.

While voting against the creation of a separate strand of goals for special education, many members of the Committee emphasized that special education should be addressed within the existing strands.

The Committee also began to consider revisions to the draft goals that had been proposed in the public meetings and by Superintendent Hardy Murphy. It did not vote on any revisions to the goals, however, due to the late hour. It is anticipated that the Committee will meet again in January to consider proposed revisions to the goals.

A statement of the Core Values, as revised by the Committee, is contained in the online edition of the RoundTable.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...