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At its Oct. 20 meeting, the District 65 School Board adopted a set of ambitious goals for Superintendent Paul Goren for the 2014-15 school year. The goals cover leadership qualities, specific priorities to accomplish this year, and student growth.

The leadership qualities are based on the leadership characteristics that were developed with community input last year to guide the search for a new superintendent. They include vision and values; instructional leadership; community engagement; communication and collaboration; and management.

Some of the 14 specific qualities that Dr. Goren will be evaluated on include whether he “has a strong educational vision that includes helping all students be college, career and citizenship ready; [is] committed to providing equal opportunity and the best education possible to each student; promotes high expectations for students and staff; engages senior staff in review of key curriculum areas (literacy and mathematics) to ensure that the District is focused on best practices; focuses on academic improvement and closing the achievement gap; has a strong presence and involvement in the community … and builds solid partnerships and involvement with business and community organizations; [and] effectively builds teams, hires talented staff, mentors staff, and holds staff accountable.”

Dr. Goren is also expected to develop a focused and actionable strategic plan, a principal development plan, a teacher development plan, principal and teacher appraisal systems, and a financial plan for fiscal year 2016-17, the first year in which operating deficits are projected. He is also expected to identify areas for improved partnerships with School District 202.

In future years the expectations will reflect the priorities outlined in the strategic plan.

Student growth will be measured using the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, recognizing that school districts are transitioning this year from the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) to a new assessment developed by PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The goals expect an increase in the percentage of students who are grade level, who are on track to being college and career ready, and who meet expected growth on MAP. The percentage of students in the bottom quartile is expected to decrease.

The goals also call for a higher percentage of students being referred to the District’s Alternative to Suspension program.