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The District 202 School Board now has drafts of five goals that will guide the organization for the 2012-15 school years. Although still in the development stage, the goals were created after several months of planning and discussion with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and a day-long meeting on March 17, where strengths and weaknesses of the District were documented as a background for goal definition. A range of school officials and Board and community members attended the March 17 meeting and participated in breakout groups which worked to define the District’s strengths and weaknesses and to define visions and accompanying goals.

The five goals focus on student achievement, program/services/curriculum, facilities/physical plant, finance and community/District relations, according to notes provided at the regular Board meeting on March 26.

Although Board members said at the March 26 meeting that the March 17 goals still needed “word-smithing,” they agreed to accept the drafts in concept to move ahead with the process. “Many of these five categories overlap in ways that might be hard to tease out given where we are in the discussion,” said Board member Gretchen Livingston. “I would suggest that we keep it big and inclusive … it’s a point in time [now)] … it’s evolving.”

“Our objective here is to talk about what results we want to see and not how we’re going to get there,” said Board president Mark Metz, who emphasized his desire to leave strategy definition to the administration.

The vision and the goal in each of the five areas follow.

Student Achievement

“Vision – Continue to provide quality instruction and outcomes as we differentiate supports/instruction/curriculum to reduce the gap [race and socioeconomic status] in achievement and behavior success.

Goal – Increase each student’s academic trajectory through multiple measures.”

“What I like about this goal,” said Board member Jonathan Baum, “is that everybody goes up. We don’t talk about categories or cohorts. The measures we’re going to put in place will focus on that.”

Program/Services/Curriculum

“Vision – We have a dream that each ETHS student will experience the benefits of a large school and the personalization of a small school through programs, services and curricula that meet each student’s academic and social-emotional needs.

Goal – ETHS will offer (provide) individualized supports, programs, services, and curricula to ensure that each student will demonstrate significant academic and social-emotional growth during their experience at ETHS.”

“We offer a lot of things at this school but we don’t actually deliver them,” said Mr. Baum, explaining why he preferred the use of the word “provide” in the goal.

Mr. Metz agreed that he was very much in favor of the word “provide.”

Facilities/Physical Plant

“Vision – To create a student-centered facility using 21st-century resources and efficiencies as the foundation for or to support the needs of our diverse learning community.

Goal concepts – student centered – accessible, welcoming, open, aesthetically pleasing, empowering, supportive, comfortable. Efficiencies – energy, consolidated space, effective use of resources, environment, web 2.0″

“We were so excited about our vision statement that we really didn’t get to the goal statement,” said Ms. Livingston, “but I think they really ought to be the same.”

“Do we have any plans to solicit student involvement in this goal?” asked Board member Deborah Graham.

Student Board member Jesse Chatz said he planned to bring the goals to the student/principal leadership group for their input.

Finance

“Vision – to provide consistent and stable financial stewardship assuring: excellent education and opportunity for each student; reasonable property taxes; leveraging of community resources and values-based allocation of resources.

Goals – Assure the district remains financially solvent and that student achievement and well being are considered in making financial decisions.

Influence state government through local legislators, and advocacy groups, (#1: in order to receive) or (#2: in order to maximize) adequate and consistent state funding.”

“I’d like to introduce the idea of cost-effectiveness,” said Mr. Baum. Board member Rachel Hayman said she agreed.

Board members also voiced support for the concept of optimization of resources, and were careful to indicate their desire to limit burdens on taxpayers.

Community/District Relations

“Vision: Build strong relationships throughout the community which enrich engagement, student learning and well-being.

Goals: Leverage community pride in ETHS to build and expand business/community partnerships and resources. Increase effective two-way communication with District 65 and targeting groups (i.e. black, Latino, special education …)”

“This is an ongoing concept,” said Mr. Metz. “I like the idea of taking what we have now and improving on it.”

“We want good relations with lots of folks in town,” said Mr. Baum, “but our relationship with District 65 is more special.”

The Board plans to further define the goals through the spring, and Mr. Metz said the Board will finalize its discussion of the goals in May.