The District 202 School Board is continuing to move forward in its goals revision process and is currently in the “fact gathering stage,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon at the Board’s Feb. 8 meeting.

The District is undergoing a planned three-year review of the six District goals approved originally on Oct. 9, 2012. An initial draft of the revised goals, of which there are now five, is under review. Board goals help guide resource allocation and identify areas of focus in planning efforts.

Input Sought

A public meeting will be held on Feb. 27 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in room N112 at Evanston Township High School to collect feedback on the current draft of the goals. A representative. from the Illinois Associations of School Boards will facilitate the workshop, which will be “built around a structured, yet informal, day of collaborating listening and learning,” according to the ETHS website. Lunch will be provided for attendees. A link to RSVP is posted on the ETHS website.

Some feedback has already been delivered to the Board. An online survey collected data from parents. Two lunch sessions allowed teachers and staff to provide their feedback to the Board. Some local groups such as Citizens for Appropriate Special Education (CASE) have proactively submitted recommendations.

New Research Considered

The Board is also looking at new research on targets and indicators used to measure progress toward meeting each goal. In September, the administration recommended that the Board focus on five measures that matter relating to student achievement: freshman on track to graduate, graduation rate, AP access and success, ACT College Readiness Benchmarks (CRB) in English and math, and discipline and suspension.

Since that recommendation, there have been two developments that are important to consider, Pete Bavis, ETHS Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, told Board members at their Feb. 8 meeting. First, he said the School Superintendents Association (AASA) has recommended the use of multiple measures to assess and demonstrate college, career and life readiness in their document, “Redefining Readiness.” Second, the Harvard Graduate School of Education published a report, “Turning the tide: Inspiring concern for others and the Common Good through College Admissions,” which discusses non-academic traits schools are looking for in an applicant.

“These are exciting developments, things we’ve been talking about already,” said Board member Gretchen Livingston. Ms. Livingston pointed specifically to AASA’s evolving assessment of life readiness, “a measurement of independence” that CASE mentioned in its written recommendations to the Board on the goals. “We need to embrace that piece,” said Ms. Livingston.

Board member Jonathan Baum said the new information is “valuable but I’m not sure how much.” Targets and indicators, “are not just to assess how students are doing but how we’re doing.” He also said that the idea of having separate career targets and college readiness targets is “not something we want to buy into.”

“We agree,” said Dr. Witherspoon.

“Bottom line,” said Board member Monique Parsons of the new reports, it is “not about changing what we have, but about us staying informed.”

“We need to keep in mind what is cutting edge,” said Board President Pat Savage-Williams.

The five goals for School District 202 as currently drafted are:

Goal #1: Increase each student’s academic trajectory, while eliminating the racial predictability of achievement as demonstrated through multiple measures.

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.

Goal #3: Create a student-centered facility using 21st Century resources to support the needs of our diverse learning community.

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.

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. 

Each goal has a set of metrics to use in assessing whether the goal is met. The metrics are thus a key part of each goal. The RoundTable previously summarized the metrics in an article “School District 202 Is in the Process of Adopting Five-Year Goals,” which is available through the link below.