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School District 65 administrators posted Distric 65’s draft strategic plan on its website on Jan. 28 and discussed the plan with the District’s External Advisory Committee to gather input from members of that committee.

Parents, students, teachers, principals and community members are invited to review the plan and to submit comments on line up through Feb. 11, “about what you think we got right as well as your questions, concerns and thoughts on what’s missing.” (Visit www.district 65.net to submit comments.) 

The team working on the draft has scheduled three town hall meetings to gather input from the community on the draft. The town hall meetings are scheduled for the following dates:

• Feb. 3, 7 – 9 p.m. at Chute Middle School, 1400 Oakton St.

• Feb. 5, 7 – 9 p.m. at Nichols Middle School, 800 Greenleaf St.

• Feb. 7, 9 – 11 a.m. at Haven Middle School, 2417 Prairie Ave.

In addition, teachers are being surveyed for their comments. The School Board is scheduled to duscuss a revised draft of the plan at a special meeting on March 2. For more information, see guest essay by Superintendent Paul Goren, and review the draft plan. The Inroduction to the draft plan and a link to plan are below.

“Every child has great potential. Each year, thousands of families in the Evanston and Skokie communities make use of the educational opportunities offered by District 65 to help their children to realize this potential. Over many decades, families from diverse backgrounds have found fertile ground in District 65 schools for the intellectual growth and healthy development of their children. As the District 65 staff compiled this plan, we were humbled by what has come before and the trust placed in District 65 by its community.

Every day, District 65 educators, administrators and staff contribute their talents, energy, and passion in service to the potential of children. As this plan’s collaborators worked, all were inspired by excellent work already underway in our schools, classrooms and administrative center. In this plan, we seek to honor and build on those efforts and the trust employees invest in District 65.

 “Whatever it takes,” is the commitment that the District 65 Board of Education and District 65 leadership team make to staff, families, and—most importantly—students in adopting and implementing this collaboratively developed plan. As you read through the plan, you will notice a commitment not only to providing high quality learning opportunities for students, but learning opportunities that are relevant to and representative of the diverse backgrounds and strengths of the students in our schools. We also commit to providing a safe and supportive school climate in which to learn—a climate marked by strong social and emotional skill development for all children.

You will also see a renewed commitment to family and community engagement, recognizing that parents, guardians, families and community members are our primary partners in education and that, indeed, some do not feel welcome. Their absence diminishes our learning community, and we are committed to find new ways to engage.

The plan also makes a commitment to providing students and families with the most talented and best trained workforce. To District 65 employees, we make a commitment to recognize excellent work and to provide the time and resources for innovation and professional learning.

The plan makes a commitment to the professional learning of our staff. As you read the plan, you will see professional learning strategies in most priority areas. By providing appropriate learning opportunities that address the specific needs and learning styles of adult learners, we will enhance the skills and knowledge of all of the adults in our learning community so that they can be better able to serve our students. Finally, to everyone, we make a commitment to safeguard the financial sustainability of the District.

This plan outlines the next chapter in the story of District 65. As you read it, we hope you will find some components that inspire in you the spirit of every child, every day, whatever it takes—a spirit that has already inspired many who contributed to this plan. We further hope that you will feel not only inspired but called to participate in the writing of that next chapter.”