Residents interested in being on School District 65’s strategic planning committee have just over two weeks to apply.

Board members Tuesday announced a deadline of March 21 for applications for membership on the committee, which will meet this spring and early fall to develop a new five year plan to guide the district’s programs.

The committee is scheduled to meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on six Saturdays, April 12 and 26, May 10 and 31, and Sept. 13 and 26.

The board is seeking a total of 30 to 40 people — a mix of parents, teachers, district staff and board members — to serve on the panel.

Persons interested in serving can contact the board’s secretary, Pat Markham, at 847-859-8011 or email

More information and application forms are also available on the district’s website.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. What a waste of time!
    Why bother ? This district never listens to parents anyway! Look at the state of special ed., enrichment, geometry options, and the calendar. Parent concerns are ignored!

    1. Maybe, Maybe Not
      I agree, the district has a bad track record when it comes to listening to parental concerns. However, one possible benefit of participating in the creation the strategic plan is that you will have a say in the goals of the district for the next 5 years. The plan will (potentially) prevent the piecemeal approach to decision-making that has been done up till now. According to Bill Attea, the facilitator for the process, a strategic plan has specific goals which are measurable and for which everyone is accountable. He also says that a strategic plan sets the agenda for the board for the coming year(s). So, if the administration proposes to move Honors Geometry into the Middle Schools, for example, the board should evaluate that proposal in the context of the goals for the strategic plan, and if it doesn’t meet those goals, they shouldn’t consider it.

      Of course, one has to wonder why they don’t do that now. The board set four goals for this year, one was to meet NCLB goals, and two were to conduct studies. I am not sure why conducting studies should be goals – they should be a means to an end, not an end in themselves. A goal of the previous year was to improve instruction in the Middle Schools. Unfortunately, there has been almost no discussion of that in board meetings this year, unless you believe that moving Geometry improves Middle School instruction.

      I encourage any parent who has a genuine interest in helping to create a strategic plan for D65 to participate in the process. But I also encourage any parents who do participate in the process to do several things:

      1) See yourself as a representative of all parents in the district and do everything you can to get as much input from them as possible.
      2) Be attentive to what is being said and question anything that doesn’t sound right to you.
      3) Make sure your voice is heard. Parents are important stakeholders because they not only speak for their own interests, they also speak for their children.
      4) Don’t opt out once the process is complete. The only way to ensure that your work has any meaning is to keep tabs on how the plan is implemented and that everyone is held accountable. (Even those who already have 5 year contracts.)

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