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Education

Downers Grove District 58 board approves strategic plan

Document provides roadmap for improved communications, district facilities, curriculum

There may be a time in the future when Downers Grove Grade School District 58 installs air conditioning at all schools, expands middle school to include sixth grade, revamps its curriculum to be more rigorous and develops a plan to enhance communications with the community. It's difficult to know exactly when that time will come, but a plan that offers a roadmap to those goals and objectives was approved Sept. 17 by the Board of Education.
There may be a time in the future when Downers Grove Grade School District 58 installs air conditioning at all schools, expands middle school to include sixth grade, revamps its curriculum to be more rigorous and develops a plan to enhance communications with the community. It's difficult to know exactly when that time will come, but a plan that offers a roadmap to those goals and objectives was approved Sept. 17 by the Board of Education.

DOWNERS GROVE – There may be a time in the future when Downers Grove Grade School District 58 installs air conditioning at all schools, expands middle school to include sixth grade, revamps its curriculum to be more rigorous and develops a plan to enhance communications with the community.

It's difficult to know exactly when that time will come, but a plan that offers a roadmap to those goals and objectives was approved Sept. 17 by the Board of Education.

Board members unanimously approved the strategic plan, which was presented in detail by Superintendent Kari Cremascoli and other administrators.

"Of course, our work is most focused on learning," Cremascoli said.

The strategic plan outlines a variety of steps designed to create schools that would be better learning environments, she said, adding the district has done a great job of maintaining existing facilities.

Justin Sisul, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said executing the strategic plan will require significant work beyond determining goals and objectives.

"What are we talking about when we say, 'rigorous instruction,' " he said, referring to one of the objectives in the plan.

Jayne Yudzentis, assistant superintendent for personnel and staff development, said the plan's second goal, which calls for connecting to the community, will involve bringing groups together including parents, teachers and administrators.

"There is a lot of work ahead," Yudzentis said. "We do believe there are places we can improve and be more consistent as a district."

Specifically, the plan calls for the district to "foster a culture of trust by proactively and openly sharing district processes, decisions and information in a transparent and timely manner."

That would be accomplished by reviewing the current communications plan and creating the framework for a new one.

Todd Drafall, the district's superintendent for business, discussed the goal that calls for securing the district's future. He said a draft master facilities plan will be presented to the school board in August 2019.

Cremascoli said she recently met with officials from Community High School District 99 to discuss how they developed their master facility plan. The plan served as a guide for District 99, which succeeded in having a referendum passed in March and is in the initial steps of renovating both schools.

Cremascoli added the strategic plan's success hinges on community participation.

"We need a whole lot of hands," she said.

Cremascoli added the district is actively recruiting community members to join the working groups that will help move the plan forward.

Presentation of the plan came 10 months after the district launched the strategic planning process by surveying community members about their perceptions of the district and their vision for its future.

The survey was conducted by Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates. The firm presented the board with a report in April that summarized the responses of more than 2,400 community members, teachers and students who participated in the district's online survey and 575 people who took part in interviews and focus group discussions.

The plan's goals and objectives were approved in May. Metrics, timelines and other specifics were hashed out over the summer by committees comprised of teachers, administrators and parents.

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