With seven Board of Education members making decisions for the 20 schools in Community Unit School District 200, it can be challenging for the board to see how policy affects students at the ground level.
“It’s difficult, even if you have kids in school, to see how the board decisions being made are affecting the schools around the district,” Board President Barbara Intihar said.
While some board members make a point to visit all 20 schools during the course of the year, she said, the interactions couldn’t be very in-depth.
However, starting this year, board members have each selected three schools to which they will give special attention as part of the board’s new “Adopt-A-School” program.
Board members are encouraged to visit with their principals at least once a year, join the schools’ PTA and mailing lists and generally be more involved.
The goal, said Superintendent Brian Harris, was for board members to see how the programs they enact work when implemented and to foster proactive relationships.
Intihar said that the reaction from the board has been very positive, stressing the importance of connections to the local rumor mills for getting feedback about what’s happening in district schools.
“As we are working on starting our community engagement process, we need to be engaged internally as well as externally with the community,” she said.