Statements of Recommendation
Following please find a Letter of Transmittal submitted to the Board of Education from the Engage 200 Facilitating Team that corresponds with the Statements of Recommendation.
July 9, 2014
To: Board of Education, District 200
From: Engage 200 Facilitating Team
Re: Engage 200 Statements of Recommendation
Since early December 2013 we have been serving as a team of individuals to facilitate a community engagement program initiated and sanctioned by you, the District 200 Board of Education. We have taken this task very seriously because we realize our work has significant implications for the future of our students and our community. We have spent approximately 30 hours in actual meeting time that included nine (9) Facilitating Team meetings and six (6) community-wide sessions, not to mention the time individual members have devoted in preparation for the meetings and other activities related to promoting the community sessions and review of related materials—PowerPoint presentations, verbatim and executive summary documents.
While we would have enjoyed an even larger attendance at our community sessions, we are pleased that we had nearly 700 community members attend at least one session. Of those that attended at least one session: 57% are parents of current students, 30% are parents of a future or former student, 25% are staff members, and 17% are community members. It is important to note that some attendees listed more than one category to classify themselves. Additional, detailed attendance data is available from the District 200 office.
We wish to commend Brian Harris, the District 200 superintendent who worked with the Board to initiate this program, and Faith Dahlquist, the current interim superintendent, for their support in giving guidance to our work, yet providing the freedom for us to make decisions we felt appropriate to facilitate the process. We appreciate the input provided by your Board representatives Jim Vroman and Brad Paulsen. We also want to recognize the yeoman work of District 200 staff in contributing to the success of this program. Those staff members include Erica Loiacono, Mary Lou Sender, Mary Ann Gudmundson, Dianna Hutchison, Bill Farley, Rodney Mack, Joanne Panopoulos, Robert Rammer, Bryan Buck, the technology department and the office staff at Monroe.
We have been faithful to the community engagement charge from the Board of Education and we are proud to present this set of Statements of Recommendation to the Board. We are confident that if the Board of Education gives serious consideration to these recommendations and follows through with appropriate action and communications to implement the spirit of these recommendations – our District and community will be stronger in the future.
There are a few items of an overriding nature in this Statements of Recommendation document that we, as a Facilitating Team, believe are of particular importance. We want to highlight these items and request that they receive your utmost attention as you consider moving forward with the District’s short and long-term planning.
1. Finance – We acknowledge that the current level of revenues will not support the implementation of many of the recommendations in this report. We also acknowledge that according to projections, the District will most likely be in deficit spending as early as next year (2015-16) unless significant cuts are made to programs and services. Additional reduction in programs and services is not consistent with what is reflected in our Statements of Recommendation and the future desired by Engage 200 participants.
2. Student Support – In practically every community engagement session, participants repeated that District leadership must improve the level of support to meet the needs of our diverse student population (those struggling, those excelling, and all in between). District leadership should also ensure that appropriate co-curricular opportunities are present for all students.
3. Staff Development – This corresponds with the ‘Student Support’ item. Staff must be provided the appropriate level of training to deliver instruction in the most optimum level possible for the diverse student population in District 200. We see this item as critical for sustaining and ideally enhancing the level of student achievement we enjoy in our District.
4. Facilities – The Board of Education needs to authorize a comprehensive study of District facilities and create a Facilities Master Plan with an appropriate timeline to address current facility inadequacies and ensure our facilities meet both the 21st century curricular and co-curricular needs of the future.
5. Communication – The Engage 200 process has provided a good model for two-way communication and dialogue in District 200. We must continue to build trust and confidence among District 200 constituents by enhancing our two-way communication efforts. We must arrive at a point where District 200 residents understand and appreciate the success occurring in our District and the challenges we face to sustain that level and move our District to an even higher level.
Certainly the items listed above present major opportunities and challenges for the Board of Education and our District 200 community. What we have learned as a Facilitating Team during the Engage 200 program provides us a much keener understanding of these issues. We are ready to assist the Board in whatever manner possible to help communicate these challenges to our broader community and participate in helping to address these issues in the future.
Your Engage 200 Facilitating Team
Co-Chairs: Liz Corry and Scott Brown
Chris Crabtree (Winfield)
Judith Zapf (Carol Stream)
Scott MacKay (Wheaton)
Harold Lonks (Winfield)
Eleanor McNear (Wheaton)
Bob Hupp (Warrenville)
Steve Johnson (Wheaton)
Charlie McKenna (Wheaton)
Jeff Brassel (Wheaton)
Jenny Sterba (Wheaton)
Leah Schwartz, Student, Wheaton North High School (Wheaton)
Jon Stehlik, Student, Wheaton Warrenville South High School (Wheaton)
Tom Grace, Executive Board, Wheaton Warrenville
Education Association (WWEA)
Penny Coyle, Co-President of the Classified Education
Faith Dahlquist, Interim Superintendent
Erica Loiacono, Director of Public Relations
Bill Farley, Assistant Superintendent for Business
Dr. Brian Turyna, Principal of Wiesbrook Elementary
Dr. Brian Harris, Past Superintendent
Jim Vroman, Vice President of the Board of Education
Brad Paulsen, Secretary of the Board of Education