D200 realigns in effort to improve equity

Curriculum and Instruction, HR departments restructure

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

At least two departments at Oak Park and River Forest High School have undergone major realignments in order to ensure that District 200 achieves its many equity-related goals.

During a Committee of the Whole meeting, Sept. 18, district officials in the Curriculum and Instruction Department and the Human Resources Department presented reorganization plans to board members. 

Greg Johnson, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said that his department's redesign includes the establishment of three new standing committees. 

The Teaching and Learning Team, he said, meets twice a month and includes the principal and around five other administrators. The group is responsible for "setting teaching and learning goals and initiatives for the year," Johnson explained in a memo. 

The Evaluation Committee meets once a month and is composed of administrators who monitor and evaluate performance data. The group discusses the methods used to collect data for teacher observations, the "process we use to implement student growth, and how we use the data we collect in these processes to determine teacher ratings," Johnson explained. 

A third committee, the Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee, meets monthly and includes teachers and administrators who "will provide guidance" on things like professional and curriculum development. 

This year, Johnson said, the department rolled out a new Curriculum Evaluation and Development Manual, which is designed to focus on "providing a guaranteed and viable curriculum that ensures all students have equal opportunity to learn, including equal access to content, knowledge, and skills, regardless of the section or class they enroll in." 

Roxana Sanders, the district's new senior director of human resources, presented a draft Talent Management Framework during last month's meeting. The framework, she said, is a comprehensive plan to identify, recruit, hire and retain qualified minority employees, including teachers, support staff and administrators.

Sanders said the plan focuses on ways to build a pipeline of qualified candidates through a variety of sources and strategies, including what's called a "grow-your-own program" that "takes advantage of aspiring teachers' tendency to prefer to return home to teach." 

The initiative would train candidates from within the district to become qualified teachers to fill "high-need positions." Sanders also proposed that OPRF establish a partnership with an area university that would "allow it to offer some dual-credit courses to its high school students preparing them for a teaching career." 

In order to implement the HR reorganization, the board approved the creation of a full-time administrative assistant and the reclassification of two other administrative positions at a special meeting on Sept. 18. 

The cost of the new full-time administrative assistant position, which has a salary range of between $47,933 and $63,911, would be partially offset by the elimination of a $45,670 temporary receptionist position, officials said. 

The salary range for the two reclassified positions were increased from between $54,869 and $73,158 to between $63,191 and $84,255, in order to reflect the additional administrative work that these employees will be expected to perform. 

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com    

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