District 71 Launches Strategic Planning Process

To maintain its position as a leader in education, Niles School District 71 has begun crafting a new strategic plan. All district stakeholders — including parents, teachers, administrators, staff, students and district residents — are encouraged to participate in this vital undertaking.

By involving people from all parts of the community, district leaders expect to come up with a long-term framework for decision-making that draws upon the common values of the Culver School community and that will guide the school board and administrative team going forward.

“Overall, our goal is to engage the entire community in a thoughtful strategic planning process that builds on the strengths of the school,” said Supt. John Kosirog. “We hope to gain additional insight on the programs most valued by our parents. We are also looking for ideas on how we can effectively utilize district resources for the benefit of students. At the same time, we would like suggestions about how we can collaborate with other community organizations such as the park district and library for the benefit of everyone within the district boundaries.”

Starting in April and continuing through June, the district is soliciting input about the future direction of the school. School board members, parents, employees, current and former students, and residents who do not have children in the school will be given opportunities to take part in interviews, focus groups and public forums.

Starting May 1, an online survey that is open to all community members is available at the district website (www.niles71.org). Forums open to the public are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on May 2 and 8:15 a.m. on May 9 at Culver School, 6901 W. Oakton St., Niles. The strategic plan is also scheduled to be discussed at school board meetings on April 25, May 16 and June 20.

The collected data will be analyzed to determine goals and objectives for the next five years that reflect the District 71 mission, vision and guiding principles. This is a different approach than the one typically used by most school districts, Supt. Kosirog said. “Our approach is research-based, which means that decisions are based on data, rather than intuition.”

District 71 is partnering with the education consulting firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to conduct the strategic planning process. Results will be presented to the board of education and released to the public in July.

“Effective education of students requires a commitment from the entire community,” said Supt. Kosirog, “and we are excited to launch this inclusive strategic planning process that will help create the future for Culver School.”