Bringing Outside Groups to the Board Table

By Doug Eadie

The strategic governing team of Illinois’ Community Consolidated School District 181 spent two days together in an intensive “strategic work session” last spring. Employing 10 different breakout groups over the course of the session, the team of school board members, superintendent, and senior administrators brainstormed about the district’s values and vision statements; assessed internal strengths and weaknesses; identified important national, state, and local conditions and trends; and identified potential changes needed to address what appeared to be critical issues facing the district.

The board’s planning and development committee, which designed and hosted the work session, added spice to the already rich strategic planning stew by inviting a number of external organizations to participate. Those who accepted the invitation, including the executive director of the Hinsdale Center for the Arts, the vice president of the Clarendon Hills Park Board, the president of the Village of Hinsdale, and the superintendent of neighboring High School District 86, helped make the session a more powerful strategic planning event.

“Not only did the stakeholder representatives add valuable experience, expertise, and knowledge to our deliberations, they also got to know our district much better, so friend-building was an important outcome,” a CCSD 181 board member said afterward.

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