A new vision for RB — 11/2-4/2009

Anonymous said:

This is the smartest thing the new board has done. First things first. Dr. Bonnette is doing a fine job. Let him continue and use his expertise in selecting a principal and then getting him or her started.

and i replied…


Inasmuch as Larry Herbst deserves credit for reaching out to Bonnette in the closing weeks and months of the old board, I agree about this act and the new Board.

There will be a public input session on 3 December in the evening, I understand. All are welcome. Perhaps this can be the start of a community-wide shared vision for RB becomming the finest Illinois public high school of its size.

One hopes.

POSTED TUESDAY NOV 3, 2009 09:08
JohnM responds:
To expand on your vision statement, and to tie this in with the discussion on rankings, look at the most recent Sun Times rankings, where RB is rated 41. If you look at the schools rated ahead of RB, I can see only one other public, non-magnet, high school in the 1000-1500 student cohort–Vernon Hills. There may be others (I used IHSA stats to get these numbers) but even if so, I don’t think there are too many. Does this mean we’re close to meeting your goal? Or are there other rankings, ratings, opinions we should be looking at?
and i replied:
We are never close to the goal — that’s where complacency congeals the community. We have been dealing with that for the last several years.

The goal is always before us, but just a bit too far to grasp, causing us to reach farther ahead of ourselves.

Rankings are limited depictions, that is no news. Lots of rankings equals lots of limited depictions. Living by rankings imposes the wrong ordering priciple (and results in “teaching to the test…”).

JohnM, my two cents are to find out where you think RB is. Go to RB events, join one of the committees David and Jim pushed through. Read a board packet and go to a Board meeting. Then you will know where RB is relative to your conception of its goal. If you decide RB is important enough for your personal time, then you will be improving RB.

I guarantee you this, RB has no issue that more involvement by our community cannot overcome.

JohnM continues:

But if the goal is for RB to be the finest public high school of its size, how do you measure that? Standardized tests? COllege acceptence rate? A football team with a running game?

Again, I’m in agreement with you that we can improve–just trying to figure out where we’re trying to go and how we know when we get there.

(As an aside, I understand the constant exhortations to “get involved.” Community involvement is important. But really, attending village, D96 and RB meetings, while trying to hold down a job and raise a family seems a bit of a daunting task. I do like a bit of free time. That’s why I’m asking you these questions–I’m honestly curious).

and again:

The metrics form a bouquet of achievement, not all of which will always be in our dirrection, but all of which will consistently show both strength and improvement:

1. Sound budgeting in which expenses are less than revenues, a capital plan is established and maintained, a reserve fund is established and maintained, we do not dip into the market for payday loans, etc.

2. Graduation rate in neighborhood of 98 percent.

3. College matriculation rate in the 90’s.

4. Percentage admitted to first choice college high and growing.

5. Academic attainment levels across the broad spectrum of standardized tests for Illinois high schools are consistently in the very highest tier, say, top ten to 15 high schools in state.

6. Premiere-level state and national teams in academic, intellectual and forensic competitions (Math Clubs, Chess Clubs, Computer programming competitions, Langauge societies, debate, individual speaking, etc.).

7. High and growing rates of indicia of personal, non-academic achievement by students showing ability, mastery and dedication, such as High School All-Americans, Eagle Scouts, leading volunteerism, etc.

8. Pace-setting vocational-ed program for non-college bound students that is designed and updated annually to relate to west suburban employer needs.

9. A professional and collegial organizational environment in which the students’ learning is the ordering principle for all decisions.

10. A workplace in which no individual, be he department chairman, football coach, athletic director, longtime union leader, etc. exert influence beyond his area of particular responsibility.

11. An organizational structure that is instinctively open, transparent, inclusive and respectful, that locates the school as the manifestation of the community, that treats all its employees with respect and humanity, that does not tolerate inappropriate activities or beahviors by anyone, and that is equally prepared to reward initiative and performance as it is to hold individuals accountable for their failures and shortcomings.

I think these would be a good start, but I claim no special knowledge or insights, and there may be far better indicia or metrics out there.

What is so amazing is that we have a majority on the Board composed of two former school board presidents, a professional educator who is a principal in a large nearby school, and a current president who obviously wanted the job. But they are silent on their vision.

Why they have articulated nothing, let alone something sensible like the above fairly self-evident points, is a reasonable question. In the absence of such, and in light of their record, they seem married to the status quo.

I think we are underserved. The majority has been running things over there for years, and beyond a few axioms, like, “We hire the Superintendent and then take a seat in the balcony…” (??!!?), it is tongue-tied on where the school should go. Thus they drift from crisis to mess to patch-up to personalities to fear of offending over-influential employees to the next thing. Simply put, they are not up to the job.

Whatever you decide, JohnM, with a principal search on, there is no time like the present to Improve-RB.

Finally, I re-state my resentment at being probed by an anonymous poster. Nothing personal, but this is less for you than others who may happen by.

POSTED WEDNESDAY NOV 4, 2009 08:42 #
Explore posts in the same categories: Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

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