Sunny skies and spring-like temperatures failed to deter more than 50 board members, staff, and community leaders from attending an all-day workshop Saturday at Evanston Township High School to exchange views on goals for the school and District 202.
The proceedings were moderated by Barbara B. Toney, director of field services for the Illinois Association of School Boards, who has worked off and on with ETHS over the past decade in a similar capacity, as she has with boards of many other districts in the state.
Barbara Toney of the Illinois Association of School Boards
She explained to the group that the board, in harmony with the community, sets the goals, while the staff, led by Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, develops strategies and specific plans for implementing the goals and participates in the measurements that determine whether those goals are being met.
She was introduced to the assemblage by School Board President Pat Savage-Williams, who called for the participants to “stay engaged, experience discomfort, speak their truth, and expect non-closure.”
District 202 Board President Savage-Willilams
Toney set the tone for the workshop by describing what she referred to as the “foundational principles of effective governance.”
A school board, she explained, clarifies the district purpose, connects with the community, employs a superintendent, delegates authority, monitors performance, and takes responsibility for itself.
“The school board’s role as trustee for the community is unique and essential to both the district and community,” she declared.
Six of the seven board members attended the workshop, and Toney advised them to sit at different tables in order to maximize their communication with community members.
Board member Jonathan Baum at one of the participant tables
As the workshop progressed, participants reviewed the board’s mission, as well as its equity and excellence statement, before discussing each of the draft goals and giving input for the board to consider.
Following today’s workshop, the board plans to schedule a special meeting to review and tweak its draft goals before a final vote at the April 11 board meeting.
Then it will be up to the superintendent and his staff to plan strategy and propose projects to address those goals.