Proposed District 161 strategic plan makes its first appearance

Flossmoor School District 161’s proposed blueprint for the next five years went on view this week.

Click on the image to see 
the full draft. 

Following months of preparation — which included input from community members and multiple discussions between school officials — the draft of the strategic plan for 2015-2020 was posted on the district’s web page. It was included in the online agenda for Monday’s board of education meeting.

The strategic plan must still be approved by the school board. District 161 officials originally expected the plan to go into effect July 1 but the earliest that can now happen is Aug. 17, the date of the next school board meeting.

There was little discussion of the strategic plan among board members Monday. However several members of the strategic planning committee attended the school board meeting; one said she had received an invitation to the session and understood she would receive a copy of the plan. The plan is still in the works, she was told, but a draft of the document is on the website.

The strategic planning committee is made up of 73 community members, including residents, business leaders, government officials and District 161 board members and administrators. The committee met twice in May to discuss the pressing issues facing the school district and how to best move in a positive direction over the next five years.

As a draft document, the proposal strategic plan includes vision and mission statements and goals for five areas of concern in District 161 – curriculum and assessment, culture and climate, professional resources,  finance and student achievement.

Robert Madonia, the district’s consultant for the strategic plan project, told the board Monday that the vision statement should reflect “where we see ourselves 15 to 20 years down the road.” The draft vision statement says District 161 aims “to be a community of leaders who inspire global learning.”

The mission statement, Madonia said, defines the present state of the school district.

“It is succinct and tells what the district does, who it does it for and how it accomplishes its purpose,” he said.

Currently, the proposed mission statement says, “School District 161, in collaboration with all stakeholders, implements equitable and challenging learning experiences for all students that provide the foundation for global, independent and innovative thinking.”

Madonia said he was impressed by the performance of the strategic planning committee, which met for nearly eight hours at the May meetings. He said it is important that District 161 utilizes the committee and its members during the five years that the strategic plan is in effect. The district needs to revisit the strategic plan on a regular basis, and to conduct an annual review of how well it is being followed, he said. The committee should be part of that review.

“I have been a consultant for a number of school districts on strategic plans and the ones that are most successful always conduct annual reviews,” he said. “The committee should do an annual review to report back to the board on the progress of the plan.”

Committee members have “done their job” in providing input for the strategic plan, Madonia told the school board.

“Now it’s your role to make a decision,” he said.

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