We invite anyone who attended or was involved in these activities -- Administrators, teachers and staff members, parents and community members -- to "Sound Off" on what you learned, how many people attended, which board members and administrators were present, compliments or criticisms and ideas to improve similar future activities.
As always, your names are welcomed but not required. It is important to gather the "facts" on what actually took place, as well as hear your opinions, since Dr. Schuster might summarize her own observations and impressions in the next Superintendent's report she will present at the November 18, 2013 Board meeting.
Please "Sound Off" on the following activities or news items:
1. Dr. Schuster attended the 47th Annual Conference of an organization called the Suburban Schools Superintendents. According to the SSS website (Click to open link), the conference was held between November 6 and 9 at "the Omni Royal Orleans in the beautiful and historic French Quarter of New Orleans, steps away from Jackson Square, antique shops, and the art galleries of Royal Street. This elegant retreat is an ideal backdrop for relaxed conversations and the sharing of ideas." (Click here to open conference agenda.)
2. On Saturday, November 9, other administrators, teachers and staff members hosted a 3 hour "Family Symposium" as part of the Learning for All Family Education Series. According to Dr. Schuster's last Superintendent's report, registrants (yes, you couldn't just drop by) could "choose two of the following sessions to attend during this conference-style event:
-- Preparing for an effective IEP meeting
-- Preparing for Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences; Understanding Fall Assessments and Report Cards
-- Student Use of Texting and Social Media
-- What's SEL (Social Emotional Learning) Got to Do with it?
-- Homework Skills and Support
3. D181 Parent, Staff and Community Online "Surveys"are underway, with a deadline of November 27 for individuals to complete the survey. According to Dr. Schuster's report, the "purpose of these surveys is to gather data related to communication, transparency, parent education, SELAS and the District Vision for 2020. " The survey does NOT include any satisfaction questions relating to the Learning for All Plan. According to her report, Dr. Schuster stated that a "survey focused on the Learning for All Plan is being developed based upon the 2013-14 District Goals and the Board’s discussion about survey items. We anticipate that the survey will be administered in early January." (Click to open Dr. Schuster's report.)
4. The Administration and Board hosted two Community Engagement nights on November 12 and 13. The first was held at Hinsdale Middle School, the second at Clarendon Hills Middle School. According to Dr. Schuster's report, the purpose of these sessions were to "gain[ ] input into the Vision for 2020.""Parents, community members, and staff are invited to attend. The ideas generated during the Visioning Workshop on October 7 and preliminary survey results will be shared. Participants will be asked for additional ideas and for input into the prioritization of the ideas that have been generated to date." (Click to open Dr. Schuster's report.) Again, this was NOT an engagement opportunity for parents to discuss the roll-out of the Learning for All Plan.
5. Today Dr. Schuster hosted her second Lunch and Learn Session which she described in her board report as "an additional opportunity to discuss the District Vision and other news with our community."(Click to open Dr. Schuster's report.) Today's session was actually the first one, since as Dr. Schuster explained to the Board at their last meeting, when asked about it by a board member, the first one did not take place due to a stomach flu that struck and prevented people from attending. We'd love to know what was actually discussed, how much time parents had to ask questions or state opinions and what Dr. Schuster's responses were.
And in the news and about town:
6. This week's Hinsdalean reported on the unfortunate "bottle throwing" assault a former board member was subjected to at the hands of another former board member. We'd love to hear from any of the past or current board members who were involved in or witnessed this incident. Is the news article as written accurate? Dr. Schuster and the board member are quoted in the article, but questions remain unanswered. Did Dr. Schuster really threaten other community members with the conduct policy in question while ignoring it's application to the assault incident? What does it mean when she says she simply "mentioned" the policy. We'd love to hear more "facts" from anyone who was actually involved.
7. Finally, while this is not something initiated by the Administration, we want to remind everyone to check out the online Petition that a parent is circulating and that she will be presenting to the Board at next Monday's meeting. The Petition is asking the Board to consider Full Day Kindergarten and an equitable distribution of the Differentiation Specialists between the schools. As of tonight, 235 parents have signed it. Check it out at:
We hope to hear from our readers who participated in any of these activities! If you didn't but know someone who did attend, please refer them to this post.