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The District 202 School Board is in the process of adopting new goals which will guide the District’s work for the next five years. One of the main responsibilities of a School Board is to set educational goals. As stated on the District 202 website, “adopted goals help guide resource allocation and identify areas of focus in the District’s planning efforts.”
Throughout the school year, the Board hears reports from staff and others on the progress being made toward achieving the adopted goals. All actions brought before the Board must identify which of the goals the action or proposal relates to.
The Board is currently undergoing a review of the District’s six goals approved originally on Oct. 9, 2012. An initial draft of revised goals, of which there are now five, is also under review. Many of the proposed changes serve to update and eliminate outdated targets and measures.
Pete Bavis, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, encouraged the Board in a memo to, “focus on the five measures that matter: freshman on track (Allensworth & Easton, 2007), graduation rate, AP access and success (Keng & Dodd, 2007), ACT College Readiness Benchmarks (CRB) in English and math (Bettinger, Evans & Pope, 2011), and discipline and suspension.”
The Equity and Excellence Statement
The working draft of the revised goals begins with the Board’s Equity and Excellence Statement as approved in September 2011: “ETHS is committed to equity because excellence for all students requires equity.” The statement says this commitment will be achieved by:
• Providing all students with “resources, opportunities, supports and interventions to ensure that they achieve their full potential” and that students receive “what they need to maximize their learning and well-being;”
• “Assuring that all ETHS staff members actively continue to examine and eliminate institutional beliefs, policies, practices, and teaching that perpetuate racial disparities in achievement;”
• “Preparing all students to succeed in a multi-cultural society by teaching the contributions and viewpoints of all people;” and
• “Raising the achievement of all students while eliminating the racial predictability of achievement.”
Signifying the importance of the Equity and Excellence Statement, each of the five proposed goals in the current draft begins with a header that states: “ETHS is committed to equity because excellence for all students requires equity.”
This was done to better incorporate the equity statement into each goal, Board President Pat Savage-Williams told the Roundtable. In the current goals, the Equity and Excellence Statement, “felt like an addition,” said Ms. Savage-Williams. “This way it is a part of each goal; it is embedded in each goal.”
Goal #1: Increase each student’s academic trajectory, while eliminating the racial predictability of achievement as demonstrated through multiple measures.
The phrase “while eliminating the racial predictability of achievement” was added in the working draft. The proposed targets and measures, or the means by which each goal will be assessed, remain similar to the current goal, but have been updated to include current assessments. The targets and measures are:
• 70% of graduating seniors, by subgroup, will have taken at least one Advanced Placement (AP) or Project Lead the Way (PLTW) course, and 50% of seniors, by subgroup, who take an AP exam/PLTW end of course assessment will score 3 or higher/Proficient or higher. These targets were updated to acknowledge the PLTW program and put emphasis on AP classes as an indicator of being on track to college success. These targets will be measured by course enrollment and assessment scores.
• 100% of freshmen, by subgroup, will be on track to graduate. This target remains the same, but the Board is still determining “an internal on track indicator” according to the draft. The current goals use “earned course credits in core subjects” as a measure.
• 80% of students, by subgroup, will continue in school within two semesters of graduating from ETHS. This target is in the current goals and will continue to be a goal, measured using the National Clearinghouse database.
• 100% of students will graduate from ETHS. This target was added to the current draft. ISBE-calculated graduation rate information will be given as the measure.
• 100% of students will be on track for readiness for college, career and independence. Students with IEPs (Independent Education Plans) are more directly identified in this target. ACT benchmarks will continue to be a measure, but benchmarks for IEP students are also being sought. Reliance on the PLAN assessment has been removed as it no long exists.
The new draft of Goal #1 also identifies the need to “establish a growth target” for students and a corresponding way to measure growth.
Goal #2: Provide all students with resources, opportunities, supports, interventions, services, and curricula to ensure that each student will demonstrate significant academic and social-emotional growth during their experience at ETHS.
The phrase “all students” was added. The targets remain focused on students’ enrollment in one or more extra-curricular activity; targeted students use of student supports such as the Wildkit Academy, AM Support and Study Centers; and requiring adults in the school to be aware of the “aspirations, challenges, and performance of 100% of the students using an iCAP (Individualized Career and Academic Plan). A target on student discipline was added: “Demonstrate a 5% decrease by subgroup annually in disciplinary actions.” The measure of this would be the Annual Discipline Report.
Goal #3: Create a student-centered facility using 21st Century resources to support the needs of our diverse learning community.
While this goal is contained in the current goals, the targets and measures have been updated.
• The existing goal refers to constructing new Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) labs. Since the labs have already become a reality, the updated targets call for increasing STEAM – the “A” is for Art – curricula by creating an Entrepreneurship Center.
• Another target updates the District’s technological support by improving WiFi capacity, and migrating the security camera system to Internet Working Protocol (IP).
• Continued sustainability and efforts to reduce the carbon footprint is targeted, with the promotion of bikes, using LED lighting, renewable energy sources and fresh waste disposal.
• Improved building accessibility would be a target, with the addition of bilingual and Braille signage.
• The goal also targets continued use of a five-year Capital Improvement Plan.
Goal #4: Provide consistent and stable financial stewardship assuring: equitable opportunity and excellent education for each student; reasonable property taxes; leveraged and optimized resources; and values-based, cost-effective allocation of resources.
“Equitable opportunity” for each student was added in the new proposed goal. The targets remain virtually the same as in the current goals: maintain the District’s AAA bond rating, maintain the District’s financial recognition rating from the State of Illinois, maintain the District’s portion of the total Evanston property tax bill to less than 25.5%, and maintain fund balances of at least 33% of annual operating expenses for all Operating Funds.
An additional target was added to the working draft of the goals for the District to, “advocate in support of legislation that serves our students best and against legislation that would harm (our) students, using all available channels, including but not limited to ED-RED membership, collaboration with D65 and other like-minded districts, and other board and administrative organizations that advocate in support of public education.”
Goal #5: Strengthen relationships throughout the community which enrich engagement among all stakeholders and enhance student learning and well-being, and assure full continuity of effort with District 65.
This goal remains the same in the current working draft as do many of the targets and measures. They include:
• Maintaining school-parent communication channels, but updating the list of existing channels to include Parent Ambassadors, State of the Schools, Parent Shadow Day, Realtors’ Breakfast and Community Leaders Breakfast.
• 100% of parents will use the Home Access Center and Teacher Conference sign-up tool.
• Maintaining and expanding collaborations with District 65 remains a target as well, with several points focusing on continued data sharing, calendar development and the joint achievement goal. “Collaborating on nonacademic areas to share services and reduce costs” was added, with “joint purchasing” and “shared services” as measures.
• A target seeking a joint plan between Districts 65 and 202 around PARCC assessments was replaced by a point to “seek a joint plan…around assessments along the K-12 spectrum.”
• The target of utilizing “a variety of media to maximize awareness and support of the District’s goals, objectives and programs” remains intact, with continued use of various tools, a clear brand identity and coordinated communication as measures.
• “Develop and maintain positive, collaborative relationships with all stakeholders to strengthen support for ETHS” also remains unchanged, along with “building and maintaining partnerships with business and community leaders” such as the Cradle to Career initiative, the City of Evanston, Oakton Community College and Northwestern University.
• “Improve education and communication with the community on legislative matters impacting our students and strengthen voice of community on these matters through improved use of tools that can be used to exercise that voice when communicating to legislators” was added as a target.
The current Goal #6: Maximize the reputation of ETHS, was not included in the working draft. Targets under this goal currently include expanding communications on the large number of students taking AP courses, national awards earned, national rankings, post-secondary institutions where students attend and graduation rates/college-career ready students. Several of these targets and measures have been absorbed into other goals.
The Joint Literacy Goal was adopted by both Districts 202 and 65 and has been included at the end of the draft of the new goals. The goal states that. “All students are proficient readers who are college and career ready by the time they reach 12th grade. To attain this goal, we are adopting and implementing a model of disciplinary literacy. Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards, retain or further develop skills and understanding mastered in preceding grades, and work steadily towards meeting the general expectations described by the common College and Career Readiness Standards.”
Targets and measures for the goals identify standards and benchmarks to be met at each grade level.
In October, the Board began the process to adopt new goals. At their Oct. 26 meeting, Board members decided that the new goals would apply to the next five years, and that they would gather community input and feedback on the proposed goals during the next several months.
At that meeting, a few members of the public spoke about the goals during the public comment session. Cari Levin, founder of Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE), spoke and submitted written comments on the proposed goals, together with proposed language to address the needs of students with an IEP.
A survey posted on the ETHS website also helped gather public input, and two lunch sessions in the staff cafeteria served to collect input as well.
On Feb. 27, a public discussion will be held to collect additional community input. Originally scheduled for January, the day-long event will be moderated by Barbara Toney, Director, Field Services, Illinois Association of School Boards. Part of the session will be devoted to discussing the function and process of developing the goals, as well as the values and beliefs behind them, Ms. Savage-Williams told the Roundtable. Participants will be divided into groups, each focused on a particular goal.
More details on the public session will be available in early February. “We are collecting all the information and input we can,” said Ms. Savage-Williams. Anyone who is unable to attend the February session is encouraged to send their input to the Board.
For more information about the District 202 Goals, visit the ETHS website.