By Terry Dean
Park and River Forest High School will wrap up this month with the presentation of a draft plan to the District 200 Board of Education.
Adoption of the plan will then likely occur in July.
The plan is expected to address mostly academics but also other issues, including finances and the physical plant itself, according to Al Alson, an education consultant hired by the school to oversee the strategic planning process. Alson gave an update to the D200 school board at their recent meeting.
Academic equity was a key theme that emerged during the focus group and committee work, he said.
Creating a supportive learning environment in the building was another major theme, Alson said.
A vision and mission statements have already been drafted, along with a list of values and goals the school should embody. The actual plan will chart where the school wants to go over the next five years, with specific initiatives laid out, Alson said.
At the May 23 D200 board meeting, members and OPRF administration discussed the planning process with Alson. The timeline to adopt the plan was also addressed.
D200 Board President John Phelan stressed that the board will have time to dissect the draft document and is not looking to "rubber stamp" any plan.
He also noted that only a couple of board members were part of the focus groups and committees that helped develop the plan. Phelan stressed that the rest of the members will need to dig into the details of the draft plan when it comes.
The strategic planning process began in fall 2012 after a bumpy start.
After rejecting several strategic planning firms last summer, the board hired Alson, a former Evanston school superintendent, who has worked with OPRF in the past.
OPRF's mission, vision, values and goals
What follows is a draft version of the mission, values and vision statements, along with goals, developed as part of OPRF's strategic plan.
Vision Statement: OPRFHS will become a model for educational excellence and equity. Achievement gaps will disappear in a learning environment that is characterized by high expectations, integrity, trust, and compassion and that nurtures the human spirit and allows all students to reach their full human potential.
Mission Statement: Oak Park and River Forest High School embraces its diversity and provides a rich, dynamic, supportive learning environment for all students. The school provides an equitable, holistic education and cultivates the knowledge, skills, and character necessary for success and leadership in a global society.
Values: We believe that all students are capable of success. We further believe in:
- Strong collaboration and communication among students, families, schools, and the community.
- Cultivating an appreciation for diversity, a sense of self-worth, engaged citizenship, social responsibility, and lifelong learning in a global community.
- Strong, trusting relationships that establish a safe and respectful school community.
- An academic environment that fosters curiosity, imagination, leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills.
- High quality, differentiated instruction that engages, supports, and stretches learning.
- Nurturing the professional development of staff, faculty, and administration to support all students' learning.
- An engaging, challenging education that fully prepares students for all options after high school.
- Providing the academic and social supports students need to achieve success.
- Allocating resources in transparent and purposeful ways to ensure equity and fully support the individual and the collective needs of the school community.
- Ensuring that race, income, gender and learning differences are not predictors of achievement.
- Holistic Community Education: OPRF will collaborate with other educational institutions and social service organizations creating seamless transitions for students. Students and adults will build partnerships across our communities and create an engaged, socially responsible citizenship.
- Equity: The adults and students at OPRF will create an environment where the academic achievement and social and emotional growth of students will no longer be predictable by race.
- Supportive Learning Environment: Everyone in the OPRF community will foster a learning environment that supports and affirms the uniqueness of individuals; values trust, risk-taking, reflection and self-advocacy; and nurtures a system of supports to meet the evolving needs of all students.
- Transformational Teaching, Learning and Leadership: All OPRF educators will provide rich, engaging learning opportunities that set high expectations for all students and foster collaboration, problem solving, reflection, critical thinking and independent learning. All OPRF educators will monitor student progress, and use the information to revise and improve teaching practices and student learning. OPRF will support student learning by providing all educators with professional growth and collaboration opportunities that enhance effective teaching and leadership. All OPRF decision-makers will set high expectations for all, while affirming and supporting teaching and learning in all policies and practices.
- Facilities and Finances: As responsible stewards of OPRF assets, everyone in the OPRF community will make student-centered decisions relating to facilities and finances and allocate resources to ensure excellence and equity.