This page will be frequently updated throughout the Connect 44 Process. Please check back frequently for communication to directly follow each meeting date. You may also subscribe to our District 44 Newsletter to receive this information direct to your inbox. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meeting 1 Highlights
The following includes a high-level summary of the first meeting of the Connect 44 Team.
- Understanding the Team & the Process
Members of Connect 44 took time to get to know each other and more about what stakeholder group they represent in this process. They also heard from Director of Communications & Strategic Planning Jenn Nimke and Board President Courtney Long, both of whom will be facilitating . The team is made-up of 44 people who represent all stakeholders in the D44 community. The Connect 44 Team list can be found on the sd44.org website under the department of “Communications & Strategic Planning.”
- Picture of an Ideal Graduate
Our first activity was to determine who our ideal D44 graduate would be. The team was asked to consider what experiences, achievements, accolades and skill sets a child would have needed to be exposed to our attained in order for us to feel confident that they are prepared for success once leaving our district. This image of the ideal graduate is something we will refer to throughout the strategic planning process to drive our thinking and keep us rooted in mapping out a future genuinely rooted in meeting our students’ needs.
- Current State of the District
We heard from Superintendent Ted Stec about the current state of the district. Our student make-up is changing, both in terms of need as well as population growth. This is something we must be mindful of when thinking of our future.
- Determining Needs and Priorities of the Community
We reviewed all the survey data from the parent, community and staff surveys that recently went out. We also reviewed data from the Opening Day round-table discussions to better understand what our staff feel the strengths of the district are. Following that, we engaged in an environmental scan where we determined our strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.
Deciding Who Our Stakeholders Are
We began to populate the first part of our plan, which was deciding who our stakeholders are and how we would describe their role in our success five years from now.
Meeting 2 Highlights
The following includes a high-level summary of the second meeting of the Connect 44 Team.
- New Mission & Vision
The team focused on answering key questions tied to the district's roots (its mission) and future direction (its vision). These answers will be developed into the new statements that will exist within the final strategic plan.
- Working Through Change
The team engaged in several critical conversations tied to the change the district has recently experienced as well as the change that will occur as the school community begins to move forward in achievement of this new vision for Lombard schools. Superintendent Ted Stec spoke to the team about the importance of recognizing what has occurred while also outlining the necessary next steps in order to move forward in a collaborative and supportive way.
- Plan Begins to Take Shape
We also came to agreement on several items that will serve as the starting framework to the new plan, most notably determining four priority goal areas and outlining strategic objectives directly tied to these goal areas. We we reconvene next month, we will work on mapping out strategies as well as measurements tied to the four goal areas. These goal areas include the following:
1. Student Wellness & Growth
2. Family & Community Engagement
3. Professional Growth & Commitment
4. Financial Stewardship & Facilities
Meeting 3 Highlights
The following includes a high-level summary of the second meeting of the Connect 44 Team.
- Building a New Mission and Vision
The team reviewed several mission and vision statements that were developed based off its work at the October meeting. The team was able to narrow down their top choices while also offering additional suggestions to improve upon the statements. A critical discussion also took place regarding the importance of the mission and vision not being words but truly about our behavior, culture and connection to the district.
- Student Feedback & Input
The team reviewed several pieces of student feedback and used this to further their work. One piece of feedback was a Needs & Nurture List, which was developed following several focus group sessions Superintendent Ted Stec and Director of Communications & Strategic Planning Jenn Nimke held with students in Grades 3-8. When speaking with the students, it became evident that many of them shared some of the same needs as well as an equal desire to be nurtured while at school. The team also had an opportunity to hear from Glenbard East Principal Shahe Bagdasarian regarding common needs District 44 students have when entering the high school. He also shared more information about Glenbard District 87's strategic planning process, which they have just begun. So far, their focus is very similar to the work of the Connect 44 Team.
- Development of Strategic Objectives
The team continued its work around strategic objectives, with a specific focus on developing objectives that can exist in each of the four goal areas in the plan. By doing so, it will allow the organization to move together as a cohesive unit because we will be focused on the same outcomes and needs.
- Assigning Projects to Goals
Members reviewed a Strategic Inventory List, which included all current or upcoming projects or initiatives the district is exploring or anticipating working on as a district. Each goal area team was then charged with determining which of these are natural strategies in achievement of their goals.
Meeting 4 Highlights
- Mission and Vision Reflection
Superintendent Ted Stec asked the group to reflect on their own relationship with the district and share their individual success stories. Through this dialogue, many members of the team commented on how much they value working or being a part of the Lombard 44 community. They also shared their confidence in the future direction we are headed.
- Indicators of Successful School
Members of the team reviewed the final set of strategic objectives, which will serve as “Indicators of Successful School” in the final strategic plan (the full list is below). As Superintendent Ted Stec shared during the meeting, these indicators are crucial because they allow us to demonstrate not only what we value but also how we define our success. The team was asked to determine the right measurement tools we should utilize to gauge our achievement of these indicators. As part of this, team members reviewed feedback from all staff provided on Opening Day during our round table discussions. These measurement tools will be linked in the final strategic plan with each indicator.
"Indicators of A Successful School"
1. Increase Home School Connection & Parent Involvement
2. Strengthen Community Partnership & Civic Opportunities
3. Improve Communications
4. Increase Employee Satisfaction
5. Increase Student Satisfaction
6. Improve Resources & Support to Students and Staff
7. Increase Employee & Student Involvement in Activities
8. Prioritize Spending
9. Enhance Opportunities for Collaborative Decision-Making
10. Increase Leadership Opportunities
11. Increased Alignment with ESSA
- Vetting of the Plan
A draft version of the strategic plan was given to team members to review. The team was asked to answer specific questions regarding the layout, content and communication of the plan. This will be utilized to make additional refinements before the plan is shared publicly with all staff and parents. Staff and parents can expect to review the plan in February and offer additional input at that time.
- Next Steps
The final Connect 44 meeting will take place in January and consist of a smaller team to develop the final strategies tied to each goal area. Following their work, the plan will go out to the public for additional input and then to the Board for approval.
Meeting 5 Highlights
- Strategic Initiatives and Organizational Alignment
A small team of Connect 44 representatives came together to finalize the last component of the strategic plan -- initiatives. Additionally, principals were able to come together to discuss connections to the plan within their own buildings. During the initiative work, each goal team evaluated all of the work of their respective team thus far and then utilized that to determine what initiatives should be executed over a 5-year period to accomplish their specific goal. During the principal work, the team discussed what components of the new strategic plan have natural ties to work they are already doing or envision for the future. The principals then discussed what components of the plan would be more challenging to support on a building-level and what specific supports they need in order to work through those challenges.
- Finalizing the Plan
With the initiative work now complete, the plan was able to move into its final draft form. The team discussed how the draft will now be shared with staff, parents and community members in order to gain their additional insight before the final plan is presented to the Board of Education in April.
Meeting 6 Highlights
- Review of Feedback
Throughout the month of February, Superintendent Ted Stec held informational meetings at every school and for the community about the draft plan. Members of the team reviewed a summary of the feedback received during those meetings. Overall, the plan received a great deal of praise from staff and community members. However, there were a few minor but important suggestions that did come forward and these have since been added to the plan.
- Preparation for Board Meeting
Members of the team divided up into their Goal Areas and developed talking points to speak to some of the initiatives or strategies in their respective areas. The final plan will be presented to the Board of Education for consideration and approval at the April 9 meeting.
- Next Steps
Following Board approval, Director of Communications & Strategic Planning Jenn Nimke will begin working with the Leadership Team to determine "Year 1" priorities out of the plan as well as how these should be tied into each school's School Improvement Plan (SIP).