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Parents Ask District 41 and School Board to Slow Think Tank Process

The Glen Ellyn District 41 Board of Education will hear the Think Tank initiative proposal at its Feb. 25 business meeting. Watch the video about divergent thinking related to the Think Tank that was presented at Monday's board meeting.

The Glen Ellyn District 41 Board of Education will be presented Feb. 25 with the findings and proposal from the Think Tank, a group charged with creating a plan for the district to implement 21st Century education, including science, technology, engineering, arts and math. 

What the board chooses to do with the Think Tank proposals will be up to it to decide at that time. According to District Superintendent Ann Riebock, it could choose to approve it on the spot, discuss it or take action at later date.

Many parents in the district still hold out hope that the district and board will push back taking any action until a later date.

While the Think Tank was not on the board’s agenda Monday night, parents attended the meeting to share concerns. One parent, Teresa Milich, spoke on behalf of the parents concerned about the fast pace, including some in attendance and others who did not attend the meeting.

The board does not respond directly to public comment at board meetings, but as part of the meeting, Riebock did present a video about divergent thinking and correlating it to the Think Tank and the future of education in the district. (The video is also attached to this post.)

Though it is standard for those speaking during the public comment period to receive three minutes to address the board, Milich asked for additional time since she was speaking on behalf of the parents in attendance.

“Key stakeholders in the process, who will be directly impacted, feel it is moving too quickly for a large scale change, and that their questions and concerns have not been adequately addressed,” Milich said.

Parents are under the impression that without a clear and defined plan, the proposal is being pushed through in a haphazard manner and has become a foregone conclusion, she said.

About 387 parents have signed an online petition (roughly 500 parents have signed online and paper petitions) the Why41? group created in response to the district moving forward with the Think Tank initiative. The Why41? group is a grassroots group of parents who are not opposed to changes at the district, but have concerns about the push to implement the changes quickly and without more data showing its benefits.

Some of the main concerns Milich expressed to the board were:

  • The rush to push the plan through
  • Moving forward while the district has yet to choose its next superintendent and at a time when half of the board is up for election.
  • In addition, Milich on behalf of the parents asked that the district delay the decision, develop a well thought-out implementation process and seek to gauge community support and engage community stakeholders to gain buy-in.

Milich also pointed out that of the teachers on the Think Tank, only 13 of the 34 represented have full-time, all-day grade level curriculum responsibilities.

She highlighted the key points parents are asking the board to consider, including:

  • Slowing down the process
  • Waiting until the district has new leadership in place before proceeding further
  • Surveying the community to gauge support
  • Sharing results of a teachers’ survey with the public
  • Using a collaborative process with representative stakeholders to come up with the best approach
  • Ensuring a well-thought out approach to any change is taken to ensure we continue to have a district that best prepares the district’s children for the future.

The Glen Ellyn District 41 Board of Education will discuss the Think Tank initiative at its Feb. 25 regular business meeting. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the district’s central services office. The next regular board meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at Forest Glen Elementary School. Find information from the district on Think Tank

Read more about the Think Tank:

  • Parents Take Issue with 'When' Not 'If' Plans for District 41 Classroom Changes
  • D41 Think Tank Discussions Continue; More Meetings Expected
  • District 41 Parents Petition Against Think Tank Initiative
  • District 41 Sets January Think Tank Meetings
  • Why 41? Responds to District 41 Superintendent Ann Riebock

Blog from Why 41?: 3 Reasons to Sign Our Petition About the D41 Think Tank Initiative

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David January 31, 2013 at 09:50 PM
I too have concerns. The most sigificant advocate, the superintendant, is transitioning out, the proccess is not transparent, and my children's future is at risk.

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