In years past, the District 97 superintendent and school board developed separate goals. That changed when Supt. Constance Collins was hired in 2005. Collins, previously superintendent of Zion Elementary School District 6, also wanted to build in more accountability on district goal-setting and a way to evaluate them.
The district goals are now developed collaboratively. Collins and the board hammered out their goals as part of the strategic planning process earlier this fall. But while there’s only one set of goals for the district, the board and superintendent do have separate responsibilities. Another change from years past: Each goal has a list of indicators, stating more specifically what’s expected of the superintendent and the board.
“We have been focused on accountability and on the areas that needed to improve,” said Collins, adding that district goals and indicators would be reviewed each school year. No more than three indicators were included for each goal.
The board approved this year’s goals at its Oct. 24 regular meeting, which took place at Brooks Middle School, 325 S. Kenilworth, where the district also hosted a celebration to kick off the first year of implementation of its strategic plan.
After a lengthy discussion at the previous meeting, the board and Collins accepted separate responsibilities on stated goals in the areas of curriculum, finance, administrative management, staff and the district’s strategic plan.
The board, for instance, wants to ensure that all students show continuous maximum improvement, whereas the superintendent’s responsibility is to implement curriculum, instruction and assessment to see that that happens. An indicator is having all students at all schools make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
“We really tried to line up the board’s and the superintendent’s goals,” said board member Julie Blankemeier. “The superintendent and the board need to be doing the same goals.”
The goals for this year were adopted later than anticipated, as the strategic plan was being finalized late this summer.
This year’s goals and indicators will be reviewed in January, March and June of 2008. Collins and the board will also start developing the ’08-’09 goals next April, she said.
Staff should have the goals by the start of the next school year in August.
“We’re going to start working in April so we can have a final product before the start of the school year. That’s where we want to start off the year,” Collins said.