State of the District

Last night at the PTA Council meeting, Dr. Wiegand gave a “State of the District” presentation to those assembled – here is the PDF slidedeck of the presentation:


I am told there were some additional things shared by folks like Marc Changnon on the awesome progress with trades, and others on the topic of computational thinking.


At 50 slides, it doesn’t take too long to flip through them all. I would direct your attention to the slides on the “Great Campus” idea (what Imani Bazzell has re-christened as the “At Promise … of Success” initiative); obviously there is more behind the scenes then what you can read on those slides. Pattsi is going to ask “what more is behind the scenes?”, so I will reference an earlier blog post:


I believe Dr. Wiegand and Imani (and others) have been meeting on this topic a bit.


There are also a fair amount of slides on the U4Innovate initiative.

For me, I was disappointed about the lack of meat in the slides regarding Goal 2 (“community-involved planning process”). Also, the last goal (Goal 6) is about capital planning, and I would like to take some to chew on the HLS numbers a bit. I still very much want to see participatory budgeting come to Unit 4, especially in light of how the saga of the referendum is unfolding. My goal is to build consensus and ownership among the stakeholders so we are not constantly splitting votes down the middle and having these 11th hour pseudo-public debates about how to spend tax dollars.

The State of the District

state_of_the_districtYesterday, Dr. Wiegand delivered her “State of the District” address to a group of 25 or so gathered in the Carrie Busey library. I asked for the powerpoint because I cannot find it online, and Dr. Wiegand sent it to me this afternoon, along with a promise of providing even more information. However, the powerpoint has a bunch of extra information hidden in the notes already – I recommend you take a look at the notes on each slide.


The Address has 6 goals and associated action steps. Here are the goals:

  1. The Superintendent will foster high academic achievement, wellness and well-being among all learners in a safe, supportive environment.
  2. The Superintendent will align the District’s priorities and resources through a community-involved planning process implemented through focused action plans with regular progress reports.
  3. The Superintendent will retain, hire, and support highly qualified faculty and staff that will best serve the District’s diverse student population.
  4. The Superintendent will effectively and efficiently engage parents and other community stakeholders resulting in strong partnerships.
  5. The Superintendent will leverage the strength of the District’s diverse population to create a rich academic and social environment in each of the District’s schools.
  6. The Superintendent will revitalize, build, and maintain facilities that are safe, sustainable and allow equitable access to programming across the District.


These are really good goals. In fact, as I was reading them I was reminded of the many promises and statements made by board members, especially the candidates. Dr. Wiegand is jumping in and setting the bar rather high, which is awesome! The Action steps sound reasonable, practical and relevant – again, read the notes because the bullets on the slide are often reinforced with extra information I found helpful.


Here is Meg Dickinson’s excellent writeup, focusing on “challenges and progress”:


There is also a WICD clip but it didn’t really say much.


In other news (sorry to bury it), the agenda for the April 8th Board meeting was finally published. There are a metric ton of items in the Consent Agenda (wow!). The only item in the “New Business” that I cared about at the moment was “Future Facilities Committee Update: Bruce Knight & Kristine Chalifoux”. I have asked several Steering Team Members about the “final” report that DeJong will give to the Superintendent, and I consistently hear that such a report is not yet ready. Which makes me curious about the presentation by Kristine and Bruce Knight – I wonder what the update is (since no document is posted on BoardDocs). Here is the text of the extra information we can see:

One of the goals of the District’s Strategic Plan, Great Schools, Together is to, “revitalize, build, and maintain facilities that are safe, sustainable, and allow equitable access to programming across the District.”  Through the use of the 1% sales tax revenue, the Board of Education has been able to address a portion of the facility needs in the District.  Existing facilities that still need to be addressed include Dr. Howard and South Side Elementary Schools and Central High School.  Current enrollment trends also indicate a need to evaluate the capacity of our middle schools and how best to deliver educational programs.

On September 10, 2012, the Board contracted with public engagement firm, Dejong Richter, to begin the process of working with the community to find out what their expectations are for some of our older school facilities, and to engage in dialogue on the prospects for a new Central High School.

This evening, Future Facilities Co-Chairs, Bruce Knight and Kristine Chalifoux will review the work done this year and discuss next steps in the process.


Side note: Yes, Great Schools, Together lives. Just don’t go visit the website that looks like it came out of 1995 and was last updated in 2008. 🙂

I believe the next steps are:

  • Steering Team approves the final report to go to Dr. Wiegand (soon!)
  • Dr. Wiegand presents recommendations to Board in May

We will see how far off I am.

Keep in mind that Chuck Jackson and I are holding a very relevant charrette on Sunday, April 7th – we feel very strongly that there is much more work to do in thinking about what to do with Central, and we feel strongly that any recommendation to come out of the steering team at this point is not going to be satisfactory. In fact, several board member candidates at the March 14th PTA Council forum offered similar comments. Please note, after talking to a couple steering team members, I am not trying to cast them in a bad light – I truly believe they have worked hard to understand and make good guesses.

State of the District: April 4th, 7:pm, Carrie Busey in Savoy


School district Superintendent Judy Wiegand will visit the Champaign PTA Council’s meeting Thursday night and give a “State of the District Address.”

The meeting is open to the public and is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Carrie Busey Elementary, 304 Prairie Rose Lane, Savoy. Wiegand will also answer questions after her speech.

“We have found this is a wonderful opportunity for parents and other attendees to ask questions in an open environment,” PTA Council President Anna Simon said.


For all those who have frustrations, questions, concerns or just want to witness one of these things, please come on out. I am still looking around to see if they have posted the speech online (or if they plan to afterwards).