District 65 administrators laid out plans to develop a new three-year strategic plan at the School Board’s Aug. 18 meeting.

Superintendent Paul Goren said, “Our goal is to craft a strategic framework that’s usable, that’s understandable. Our goal is to make it concise and simple and focused on real work.

“We really want to drive this based on the priorities we have in the District and we want to drive the work based on what we hear are the opportunities and challenges and problems and concerns and celebrations that go on in our classrooms, in our schools and in our community amongst all of the constituents that make up our community.”

He said the District has asked Lisa Schneider Fabes to work with the District as a consultant in the process. She recently helped develop a strategic plan for the Youth Organization Umbrella in Evanston.

Maria Allison, District 65’s chief strategy officer, laid out the broad parameters of the strategic plan, as well as the process to develop it, which she said was discussed with Board member Candance Chow. Ms. Allison, in partnership with Ms. Fabes, will oversee the logistics of the planning process.

Ms. Allison said the strategic plan will:
• Articulate a vision for the District that reflects a “high-level statement of what we all want for our students;”
• Provide a framework of five to seven priority areas to move that vision forward; and
• For each priority area, the plan will include a well-defined goal, three to five strategies to achieve the goal, high-level action steps for the next three years, and metrics for monitoring success.

Ms. Allison said the vision and the framework of five to seven priorities will be based on input gathered from community members, teachers, principals, staff, and members of the Board.

In October and November, committees composed of parents, teachers, principals, administrators, members of the Board and community partners will be formed to draft strategies and goals for each of the priorities identified, together with action steps and metrics to monitor success.

“These groups,” Ms. Allison said, “will be tasked with articulating how we’re going to support these priorities.” She added that “we want to be intentional about bringing in experts” to assist in this process.

In December and January, a Planning Committee composed of school leaders and administrators will be charged with compiling the strategies, goals and metrics crafted by the committees into one draft document.

“ We will actively solicit input and request feedback from a wide range of stakeholders throughout all stages of the process, so the end product will truly reflect the broad diversity of voices from the parents, community and educators of Evanston and Skokie,” said Ms. Allison.

She said Dr. Goren has already began to gather community input through his “listening tour,” which he began when he took over as superintendent in May. She and Dr. Goren plan to meet with each Board member during the next few weeks to gather their views.

Dr. Goren said as part of his listening tour he has met with more than 80 people in the community to gather views. He also visited all 17 schools and met with principals and administrators at the schools. After school starts, he said, he plans to expand his listening tour to the schools to gather input from teachers, perhaps through focus groups.

“This is a community process,” he said.

The plan is to have a final strategic plan ready to present to the School Board for approval in February 2015.

D65’s Last Strategic Plan Expired on June 30

The District’s last five-year strategic plan expired on June 30. The School Board began the process of developing a new strategic plan in June 2013, but those plans were deferred after former Superintendent Hardy Murphy resigned in August 2013. The Board decided to wait until a new superintendent was in place. In May 2014, Paul Goren began as superintendent of District 65.

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...