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The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board Wednesday held the first meeting of its Strategic Planning Committee as it begins a process expected to bring a new five-year plan to the full board for its consideration in March 2014.

Chaired by board member Constance Chow, the committee consists of representatives of various district stakeholders, including administration, teachers, parents, and community members.

Its initial meeting was mainly process-driven, as members received an orientation on its mission and the timeline for achieving it.

Essentially, the group will be developing a five-year plan that picks up where the last five-year plan, initiated in 2009, left off.

For Superintendent Hardy Murphy, who has held his job for 13 years, it will be his third strategic plan, he told the committee, but he said he hopes this one will be structured a bit differently than the previous plans in order to focus on the “Five Essentials,” a system developed by researchers from the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago.

The Five Essentials concept focuses on (1) effective leaders, (2) collaborative teachers, (3) involved families, (4) a supportive environment, and (5) ambitious instruction.

Murphy noted that one of the committee members, Dr. Penny Sebring, was a founding co-director of the consortium that developed the Five Essentials framework.

In addition to Chow, Murphy, and Sebring, the committee includes Board Vice President Richard Rhykus, district parents Sylvia Rodriguez and Jonathan Webb, Chute Middle School Principal Jim McHolland, incoming District Educators Council (DEC) President Paula Zelinski, and Dr. Therese McGuire, a district parent who is also a professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg  School of Management.

Subbing for Zelinski at this initial meeting of the committee was Jean Luft, the outgoing president of DEC.

The committee, which expects to meet on approximately a monthly basis, will be augmented by a 25-30-member Planning Team, and a number of smaller Action Teams that will flesh out performance objectives and targets in each of the plan’s strategic goal areas.

The committee’s next step will be to select a paid consultant/facilitator who can provide professional leadership in strategic plan development. Chow said the committee should make its selection in time to present it for ratification by the full board at its Aug. 19 meeting.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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1 Comment

  1. Clarification

    I just wanted to offer up a clarification that the team and board have not yet solidified the term of the upcoming strategic plan and that will be part of our work and deliberations.  We look forward to engaging and involving members of the community throughout this process.

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