Join Us for Strategic Planning!
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We are excited to share work that is just beginning in our school district to support a strategic planning process that will culminate with a new district strategic plan. This plan is expected to be drafted, discussed and eventually approved for adoption at our May 2023 Board of Education meeting. Below is key information about this process including ways for you to engage with the process to share your thoughts and ideas. Strategic planning processes create opportunities to hear and learn from as many people from our community as possible. This learning process will allow us to identify strategic priorities that are vital to our community. We look forward to interacting with you throughout this process.
Skokie District 73.5 Strategic Planning: Five Focal Areas
Our strategic planning process will dive deeply into five broad areas for our collective attention. These areas include:
- providing/advancing a welcoming environment
- hiring and retaining a high-quality workforce
- accelerating student learning
- strategic spending and ensuring fiscal responsibility
- strategic enhancement of our infrastructure
Because we now have insights on some of the most pressing challenges to K12 education that have emerged from the global pandemic, we revised several of the district’s prior strategic planning focal areas to ensure thoughtful strategic planning in several critical areas. Additionally as our planning process is enacted, all stakeholders will have an opportunity to consider how each of these focal areas is conceptualized; particularly through the sharing of hopes and aspirations in relation to each of these focal areas. As we do this, we will also carefully look back at some of our prior strategic priorities and work to identify any areas of work that should live or be advanced within the scope of one of the current focal areas.
How to Get Involved
Parent, Family Engagement with Strategic Planning During the Fall
We are working to create a process that draws in and upon the lived experiences and voices of all members of our community. To accomplish this we will use a range of approaches to listen and learn from a variety of stakeholder groups. Parents/families are one of the critical stakeholder groups that we are seeking to engage. There are several ways that you can get engaged.
- Parent/Family Surveys. During the month of October we will electronically forward a short survey to all parents/families. We hope you will take several minutes to complete this survey. This survey will ask questions that will allow us to gain important insights in each of the five focal areas discussed above. These questions will mirror the types of questions that are discussed during the community roundtable events (discussed below). Survey results will be analyzed and shared on the website with other strategic planning documentation.
- Community Roundtable Series. We will also hold four community roundtable events for all stakeholder groups. These events will be held in person at Meyer School from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. (see the dates and topics below). You can select which sessions you would like to attend. You would not need to attend every session, but of course you could attend each session if interested.
- Wednesday, October 19th: Providing and advancing a welcoming environment
- Tuesday, October 25th: Hiring and retaining a high-quality workforce
- Wednesday, November 2nd: Accelerating student learning
- Wednesday, November 9th: Strategic spending and ensuring fiscal responsibility and strategic infrastructure enhancements
Interpreters will be on hand at these events with expertise in the following languages: Arabic, Assyrian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Format of the community roundtable events. During these events, we will initially spend a few minutes in activities for getting acquainted with others in the room and those attending virtually. We will also share norms for how we interact with one another during these events. Our goal is to build a safe and welcoming space for our collaboration and interaction and to create a setting where all voices are valued and encouraged.
Before tabletop discussions begin, a set of discussion questions will be previewed and broad guidance will be provided for tabletop facilitation and documentation. As shared above, discussion questions will initially examine each focal area by encouraging participants to discuss their hopes and aspirations and to consider prior areas of district work of importance for continuing/extending as a part of that focal area. Discussion questions will also ask stakeholders to unearth things that might be strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to this focal area/work in relation to that focal area.
Each table will identify a person who will serve as the facilitator of that table. Another person will be identified as the table’s documenter. At the end of the session, we will collect all of the documentation generated from individual tables. We will then consolidate this documentation into one document that summarizes the big aspirations, issues and ideas that were generated on each night. These summaries will be posted to the district website in a specific area designated for our strategic planning efforts as these documents are generated.
- Community-Embedded Events. Because we recognize the importance of hearing from as many voices as possible, we are also working to identify voices that have been less present in other sorts of district conversations to deploy strategies that better access these voices. We are taking actions to leverage our collaboration with the ELL Center to devise a more tailored approach to connect with and learn from our English Language Learner families. We are currently identifying locations in the community where we will have staffed tables on designated dates and times for the purpose of engaging stakeholders with electronic surveys. We will share these locations, dates, and times with parents and families later this month.
Materials that might be useful to review. On a section of the district website dedicated to our strategic planning effort, we are posting a set of documents that are likely to provide important background to critical district commitments and key areas of work.
Consider volunteering to support our strategic planning process. We are also seeking volunteers to staff the community-embedded tables (for survey completion) that were discussed above. Please call Aleksandra Davidovac, Secretary to the Superintendent and Board of Education, at 847-676-8237 if you are interested in serving as a volunteer, and encourage others in your network to take on such roles. Your volunteer efforts will help us to draw in more voices as we think about the education and well-being of our children and the future of our schools.
Ongoing Strategic Planning Communication. We are currently working on creating a designated space in several languages on our district website for sharing pertinent and ongoing information about our strategic planning process. We will complement this information sharing with ongoing communication with families and staff (electronic and through groups such as local PTO), sharing with local news outlets, and posts on our Skokie School District 73.5 Facebook page. As the process begins and we activate these communication processes, we will encourage you to share your observations and ongoing ideas with us to ensure that our strategic planning communication is effective. We will use this designated space to communicate the broad timeline for our strategic planning efforts.
Dr. Zipporah Hightower, Superintendent
Dr. Emily Twarog Miller, Board President