Committee continues to revise OPRF strategic plan
OAK PARK — Officials leading Oak Park-River Forest High School in its process to develop a new five-year strategic plan quickly pulled together a small subset of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee last week to rewrite and restructure a series of statements.
The rewrite committee was assembled on Wednesday and met on Thursday after several of the 60 members of the steering committee complained during the regular meeting on Feb. 4 about the structure and wording of the first drafts. Representing a variety of stakeholders, including students, staff, parents and members of the community, the steering committee had met to discuss draft vision and mission statements, value statements, and goals.
“When we really looked at the feedback, it wasn’t so much the content; it was the structure,” said Karin Sullivan, director of communications and community relations for OPRF District 200. “So we really pared the statements down to their essence and broke them out of their categories so they can apply across the board.
“This really is a community process, and we want to be sensitive to the community’s concerns. That’s why we went back and did a second round,” she added.
The steering committee typically meets every other week but had only one week before meeting again on Monday because of President’s Day next week. The next meeting isn’t scheduled until March 18, and school officials want to keep the process on target.
Members of the rewrite committee included Sullivan, John Messina of Applause, Cathy Yen of Boosters, OPRF English teacher Jessica Stovall, OPRF’s head coach for the girls’ basketball team, J.P. Coughlin, and Phil Prale, OPRF assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction,
Pat Maunsell, a consultant hired to co-facilitate the process, shared with the entire committee on Monday the work of the rewrite committee.
“There was a lot of revising and realigning to make sure we followed a cohesive path,” she said. In addition, rewrite committee members followed the “14-year-old rule,” meaning it was written in such a way that a 14-year-old could understand it.
Maunsell also reminded all the steering committee members present that the statements are working drafts that can change at any time during the strategic planning process. The strategic plan is expected to be complete by the end of the school year and implemented by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
Messina said he was impressed by the objectivity of OPRF staffers assigned to the rewrite team and of the facilitators hired by District 200.
“It was striking how agenda-less they were in the way they went about the work. You should be confident that whatever their feelings were about individual ideas, they were able to put them aside,” he told the steering committee.
“We also did it over a couple of days so we could sleep on it,” Prale said. “I think it was as thorough as it could have been, given the time frame.”