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District 302 continues focus on 2020

MAPLE PARKKaneland School District 302 targets personalized learning, culture and human resources in the second year of its strategic plan, Kaneland 2020.

District 302 Superintendent Todd Leden said that more than 200 of the district’s teachers attended a workshop over the summer to learn about and gain the skill to implement the learner profile.

“This profile will begin to allow students to critically assess and take ownership of their learning,” Leden said. “The learner profile includes the opportunity for students to look at how they learn best, set goals and learn to advocate for themselves. This is new to our staff and students, the learning profile has been introduced and the usage of the profile will expand over the course of the year.”

As for culture in the plan, a graduate profile is being developed from prekindergarten through high school graduation. This outline will hopefully be able to chart what a Kaneland district graduate will know and be able to do once they graduate.

“Another outcome under the culture priority is expanding the explicit use of the five core values of the district,” Dr. Leden said, referencing integrity, respect, responsibility, citizenship and commitment to excellence. “We are already seeing more teachers and coaches tie these core values into their work with our students.”

Lastly, the plan is incorporating a candidate profile for retaining its teachers. Recognizing that turnover of teachers is most likely unfavorable for students and the schools, these profiles are attempting to determine the specific educator traits and characteristics that support the mission and core values of the district.

“This is a work in progress,” Leden said. “It will be completed for utilization for the main hiring season next spring and summer.”

Kaneland School Board President Teresa Witt said the Kaneland 2020 strategic plan is quite extensive, having been developed through the input of many, including students, staff, board members, administrators, parents and community members who are hopeful that it’s able to achieve the desired outcomes.

“It’s exciting as a board member to have been a part of this since the beginning of the process when this was just a blueprint,” she said. “It’s nice to see things pieced together now and in a cohesive direction.”

Now that the district is entering the second year of the plan, it’s been easier to note how it’s coming together. There’s a commitment to excellence with this plan and it’s something Leden continues to stress.

“We aspire to reach high levels of achievement by applying critical thinking,” he said. “We’re putting forth our best efforts, taking pride in our work, reflecting on the results and incorporating learning into future endeavors.”

Like any change, the process can be difficult and there certainly will be challenges that Leden and the school district will need to overcome, including budget cuts from the state.

“We have to be attentive to it because of the budget and what’s happening at the state level,” Witt said. “Sometimes we’re stuck holding our breath wondering as we tried to make cuts while using the 2020 lens so we don’t cut off the initiatives and progress of the plan, but unfortunately we also have to be more careful, a little more frugal with out finances so it’s challenging.”

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