At the Sept. 8 School Board meeting, Superintendent Paul Goren presented a proposed schedule of meetings, with agenda items, for the School Board and its committees for the 2014-15 school year. The proposed schedule and agenda items were worked out with Board President Tracy Quattrocki and Board member Katie Bailey.

At an earlier meeting, Dr. Goren proposed to prioritize topics on the Board’s agenda and to reduce the number of meetings that would be held during this school year. Several Board members expressed concerns about collapsing Finance Committee meetings into Board meetings and about acting too fast. They suggested that Ms. Quattrocki and Ms. Bailey meet with Dr. Goren to work out a schedule for this year and also that the Board’s Policy Committee review scheduling changes for the 2015-16 school year.

Dr. Goren said, “This has been a very rich and important discussion on how we organize our work as a Board of Education and senior staff in the District in a way that can address the various issues and concerns and challenges and opportunities in the District.” He said the meetings needed to be transparent, focused on topics that are aligned with the Board’s goals and structured in a way so that administrators have enough time to do the types of analyses needed to promote fruitful discussions.

He said the District would retain the meeting calendar that was approved by the Board earlier this summer. He said, though, that “working Board meetings” would be organized to facilitate “deep discussions” on topics aligned with the 5Essentials and the five categories in the Strategic Planning Framework. (See link to article below)

At the working Board meetings, he said, “We will be paying attention to issues of teaching and learning, issues of human capital or human resources or the talented workforce that we have and want to retain in our system; issues around school climate; issues around family and community engagement; the broad and important issue of operations and management of the District; and as was just presented, strategic issues, and especially this year, the strategic planning.”

“Regular Board meetings” will focus on the business of the Board, Dr. Goren said.

Ms. Quattrocki added that some of working board meetings had a “heavy agenda.” She said if the Board was not able to discuss all the items scheduled, the items could be moved or carried over to a subsequent regular Board meeting scheduled for the same month.

Board members raised issues about the time of addressing alternatives to suspension, changes in the criteria used to select students for the Two Way Immersion program, updates on implementation of the new PARCC assessments, and reports on the summer school program. It is anticipated that these concerns will be addressed.

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...