District 65 Curriculum and Policy Committee reviews strategic plan draft


Ilana Arougheti/Daily Senior Staffer

The Joseph E. Hill Education Center. The Curriculum and Policy Committee discussed updates to District 65’s strategic plan at a Monday meeting.

Aviva Bechky and Jessica Ma

Deputy superintendent LaTarsha Green offered updates on the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 new strategic plan draft at Monday’s Curriculum and Policy Committee meeting.

Green said the strategic plan focuses on five main goals: implementing equity practices, providing access to high-quality and culturally relevant curricula, recruiting and training effective staff, allocating resources for long-term stability and developing a system to evaluate goal progress.

“You want us to use clear and simple explanation(s) and to keep you informed as partners,” Green said to the committee. “This is our attempt with the (strategic) plan draft: more intentional measurement and simple transparent reporting of progress.”

A strategic plan typically undergirds the district’s goals for several years. But District 65’s current plan, last updated in 2015, was only supposed to last until 2020. Green said the plan was temporarily extended and supplemented by a district improvement plan called the MIRACLES framework. 

MIRACLES emphasizes equity, learning environments, staff retention, instructional strength and target-driven goal setting. Green said MIRACLES is essentially a mechanism to enact the strategic plan.

Superintendent Devon Horton said unified goals help ensure school leaders can act cohesively.

“We picked up a new principal (at Oakton Elementary School),” Horton said. “Because we have that framework laid out — the six systems, the MIRACLES piece, the school work plans — he was able to come in and really adapt and talk the same language.”

Green said the team conducted districtwide surveys and interviews with board members, parents and students to identify community priorities. The team quantified how many times terms like “change” and “equity” appeared in conversations with each group. 

Green said she focused on building a plan aligned with the data. The team aims to keep tabs on key updates and actions to ensure progress with a monitoring plan, she said. One of her goals is updating the website to show progress toward each objective.

“Our goal is to be able to pinpoint … what’s going on,” she said. “There should be key updates and key actions that trigger that needle moving so that you’ll see where that progress is happening.”

Board of Education member Elisabeth “Biz” Lindsay-Ryan expressed concerns about communication of the strategic plan. 

“If we were to ask 10 admin and principals about the (strategic plan), how much would they be able to understand and articulate?” she said. “We’re trying to make sure that everybody understands (the plan) at a level that they need to.” 

Despite the long timeline, the strategic plan is the blueprint for fundamental structures to create supportive school environments, Green said. 

Anya Tanyavutti, who is on the Board of Education, emphasized the strategic plan can help community members see themselves as a single district. 

“It makes consistent what our expectations are … but also what families can expect of us,” Tanyavutti said. “There’s a common culture and culture and experience as a District 65.”

Green said community members can share input through informal surveys at a town hall May 17. The Board will vote on the strategic plan May 23. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @avivabechky

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jessicama2025

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