School District 65 has been trying to get the word out about the strategic planning process so everyone knows this is happening and if they are interested in getting involved, they can, said Candance Chow, a member of the District 65 School Board and Strategic Planning Liaison.

Ms. Chow told Board members at their Sept. 23 meeting that many vehicles “are being used to ensure all voices are heard and included in the process.”

The District has posted a draft of a new mission statement for the District on its website and invited everyone to comment on the statement. In addition, the District has invited people to nominate themselves or others to serve on an external advisory committee or on one of five working committees.

The working committees will each focus on one of five “framework categories” that will guide development of the strategic plan. They are: high quality teaching and learning; thriving workforce; safe and supportive school climate; family and community engagement; and financial sustainability. Each committee will be responsible for establishing a goal for their category, and for articulating three to five strategies to advance the goal, together with metrics of success. Each working committee will be composed of 10 to 12 persons.

“The goal for the working groups is to have a really balanced distribution of folks who are on staff as educators or administrators, as well as parents and local experts in each of those domain areas that we’re going to focus on as really levers to improve student achievement,” said Ms. Chow.

The external advisory committee will be composed of approximately 20 people and will be convened at three points during the process to provide perspective on the work in progress.

District 65 has attempted to get the word out by distributing flyers and posters in the schools, by emailing all parents, all staff and the PTA Council; distributing information to more than 125 individuals and organizations representing a broad spectrum of stakeholder and partnering groups in District 65; posting information on District 65’s website;  distributing flyers to the community; and a guest essay in the RoundTable.

Ms. Chow said the District had received about 30 nominations for the committees by email as of Sept. 20, which did not include nominations submitted on paper and collected at the District’s offices or in the schools. She added, “I’m sure we’ll get many more.”

The deadline to submit comments on the mission statement and to submit nominations for one of the committees is Sept. 26.

The School Board is scheduled to review the final draft mission statement at its meeting on Oct. 20. The plan is to launch the working committees on Oct. 27.

School Board member Richard Rykhus thanked administrators and Ms. Chow for their work. He told Ms. Chow, “As a fellow Board member, I really appreciate the commitment you’re giving to this really, really important process.” 

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...