Steering committee meets again as work on OPRF five-year plan continues
Consultant Pat Maunsell explains some of the findings of a recent survey of several focus groups. The Oak Park River Forest High School Strategic Planning Steering Committee met Monday night at the school. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 9, 2013 11:42AM
OAK PARK — Equity in educational access; better communications; and consistent academic expectations, support and leadership are among the primary concerns voiced by participants in focus groups for Oak Park River Forest High School’s five-year strategic plan.
“There was a lot of agreement overall cross these groups, and I think this is good because it will make things easier moving forward,” Pat Maunsell, one of the facilitators for the strategic planning process, said at meeting Monday night of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
“All this big talk at the strategic levels does come down to individual kids.”
Maunsell and lead facilitator Allan Alson conducted several focus groups with nearly 2,000 stakeholders, including students, faculty and staff, administrators, parents and community members.
In addition, the 30 Strategic Planning Steering Committee members attending Monday’s meeting were asked to help in the formation of goals that encourage equity and a holistic relationship between the community and the high school. This was the second time the group worked on these issues.
The steering committee will resume the development of goal statements on the issues of transformational teaching, learning and leadership; supportive learning environment; and facilities and finance from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the high school. Over the coming months, steering committee members will be asked to participate in task forces aligned with each goal in preparation of a final plan for implementation before the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Alson said he and his team expected to present three categories of results: agreement, mixed results and disagreement. However, the consultants found little disagreement in the issues themselves, though there were some mixed results in terms of developing resolutions, he said.
“We didn’t really find anything where anyone was diametrically opposed,” Maunsell said.
Some participants expressed a desire to receive a more detailed report on the findings of the focus groups. Alson and Maunsell said they would be willing to develop such a report but that it would cost more time and money without yielding more significant information.
Community member John Duffy said he was concerned how the mostly anecdotal information was quantified.
“I don’t distrust the information. I’m disturbed by it,” he said. “There is a lot here to start acting on, and I’m getting tired of the analysis. We’ve had years and years of gathering information and not enough action.”
For more information on the strategic planning process or meeting dates, go to www.oprfhs.org and click on the “Strategic Planning” button on the left side of the page.