School hosts community engagement session


Hajera Naveed

The community engagement session began with the goal to receive feedback from the attendees.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, District 86 held its first community engagement session at Central’s campus; the second one will take place at South on Feb. 12.

The session was part of the district’s drafting of the Strategic Plan, which hasn’t been altered since 2008. According to Principal Walsh, the Strategic Plan is an opportunity to define the district’s goals, core values, and vision for students, staff, community members, and administration. Furthermore, a strategic plan allows the school to identify what they need to focus on in areas such as technology, classroom environment, access to facilities, and student access to opportunities in order to continue to hold the status of a high performing school district.

The engagement sessions, specifically, create an opportunity to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing District 86,” Principal Walsh said. “This is an exciting time as District 86 embarks on drafting a Strategic Plan.”

The community engagement session, held in the auditorium, was open to the entire community, and most of the attendees were parents of students at either school as well as community members who wished to be informed. The session was a way for the community to be involved in the process of drafting the Strategic Plan. Others involved in the creation of this plan are part of the Strategic Planning Team which consists of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and board members. A list of participating members can be found here.

The meeting was divided into two parts. The first part was a series of presentations given by principals from both schools and others outside the district. There were three presentations on the following topics: climate and culture; resources, finance and technology; and academics.The second part was held in the cafeteria, and it included a question and answer section between participants and experts on the topic.

Hajera Naveed
Ms. Arwen Pokorny Lyp, Hinsdale South principal, led the first presentation on climate and culture while displaying a chart of Hinsdale Central and South’s demographics.

The school broadcasted the presentation portion of the meeting live; users who weren’t at the meeting but wished to be informed needed Skype to view the presentation, as it was broadcasted through Skype Business.

The goal of the community session was two-fold. The first was for the attendees to learn a little bit more about the school district, and the other was for every person in the room to be allowed to give their feedback on the process of drafting the Strategic Plan.

“We have earned the right to say that District 86 has a tradition of excellence. Earning this was hard, but maintaining it is even harder,” Superintendent Bruce Law said at the session. “Therefore, we need your feedback on this strategic planning to maintain our district’s tradition of excellence.”

There were 89 community members present at this session. Many District 86 residents found out about this session through mail. Some attendees were concerned taxpayers curious about budget changes the school might propose as part of their plan.

“We [decided to come] because we wanted to find out about the budget that Hinsdale is proposing,” said Terry Naglewski, resident of the district. “We are just trying to find out more information on whatever they are going to propose here tonight.”

This was the first of two opportunities the Strategic Planning Team has created to receive community feedback. The next planning session will be at Hinsdale South on Monday, Feb. 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.