The District 87 school board is drafting a new set of goals, something that hasn't been revised for several years. (B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - The District 87 school board is closer to establishing new goals.
Members held a public input session in September then had a lengthy meeting a few weeks ago to get a draft of goals together. Board member John Dirks crafted the draft members are using as a starting point. The board talked the longest Wednesday night during a special meeting about the first bullet point - students will annually improve in the core curriculum.
Board member Judith Webster said she felt the goals read as a vision statement and she'd like a vision that's all encompassing, then specifics so that the goals become something the district and students can achieve.
Board member Michael Harrison said he thought the goals should be more broad because deciding how exactly to reach them isn't up to the board members, it's up to the district administrators. But, Webster said if the goals are too vague, the district can't achieve them. Board member Jennifer Sedbrook agreed it is hard to monitor something that's vague.
Board Vice President Mary Yount said the board found consensus on keeping the goals broad. Members did pinpoint some specific areas to address, including the seventh grade as a whole, reading and maintaining math.
"We have been putting a lot of effort into the math over the years and that has really shown with the scores increasing," Yount said. "Reading scores have not shown that same increase, so I think that's why the board is pinpointing that as a goal we want to head towards, get those reading scores up for the kids."
There was concern that if something wasn't stated in the goals, the district wouldn't have a focus on that. Examples that were used included physical education, the arts and music programs. Dirks said just because the goals are changed doesn't mean everything else stops. Yount said those things may not show up specifically in the goals, but the board still wants to watch them.
Board member Steve Perry suggested members consider what was said in the community discussion that may not be on the draft goals, make edits and send those ideas to Superintendent Barry Reilly's office. The district's administration is also going to look over the draft goals, offer input and specifics for accomplishing what the board would like. Reilly said he can't predict how long that will take.
The board has two weeks to e-mail additional thoughts and administrators are expected to have something together for one of the January meetings.
Yount said the goals haven't been addresses as often as the board would like.
"So, I think we are going to be coming back and looking at them maybe on an every three year basis," Yount said.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowksi@Cumulus.com