EPS Strategic Plan Breakdown

Dear East Prairie families,

It is with tremendous excitement and enthusiasm that we share the approval of East Prairie’s strategic plan at last night’s Board of Education meeting.  This community-based collaborative endeavor set out to describe the school district we strive to build together over the next five years.  The process resulted in the creation of our mission, vision, values, and strategic goals by a wide-ranging stakeholder group from East Prairie School District 73 and our community, including: parents, community members, teachers, support staff, administrators, and Board members.

Our mission statement is intended to answer the question “why do we exist?”  A quality mission statement should be compelling, memorable, continually relevant, and above all provide us with a shared purpose to aspire towards. 

The mission of East Prairie School District 73 is: 

To value the uniqueness of all and ensure the highest levels of learning.

The diversity of our community is a remarkable strength.  Each day, our East Prairie community learns from, with, and alongside one another, which we view as an incredible gift - one that benefits both children and adults.  To quote parent and planning team member Autumn Sharp, our mission “seeks to foster open understanding of and respect for our differences while also ensuring that we are all equitably included, so that we all feel comfortable bringing, and do bring, our whole selves into our interactions with the school and community.”  It is this sentiment in tandem with ensuring high levels of learning for kids and adults that we call our mission.

The vision statement responds to the question “what must we become in order to accomplish our fundamental purpose?”  Our Strategic Planning Team strove to develop a vision that creates a clear and compelling future - one that we will work together to build. 

The vision of East Prairie School District 73 is: 

To become the premier school district in the nation by focusing on community, innovation, and growth, so that all learners will be successful.

Our desire to become the premier school district stems not from a position of competition, but from the sense that when we reach the highest level we will have transformed the lives of our children and community as a whole.  That East Prairie will be a beacon of what public education can and should be, having made a profound and global impact.  As noted, we intend to do this by focusing on community, innovation, and growth.  

Having already delved into our mission, vision, and values, we will now begin to unpack our strategic goals.  Our goal statements respond to the question “how will we know if all of this is making a difference?”  Effective goals help foster a results orientation, as well as, individual and collective accountability for achieving the desired results.  Goals serve to help bridge the gap between our current reality and where we hope to take the school over the next five years - our shared vision.  Our first strategic goal is to:  

Develop and implement curriculum, instructional systems and practices that ensure every student has the initial instruction, intervention/extension and systems of support they need.

This goal seeks to ensure that EVERY child at East Prairie has a transformative educational experience grounded in child-centered, evidence-based, best practices.  We know that each one of our students is unique and learns differently; that our children come to us with different lived experiences, background knowledge, and levels of support outside of school.  Knowing that some students will require greater opportunity to learn, more time and support than others, we are committed to ensuring they receive it - that every child gets what they need!  With that in mind, we have a professional and moral responsibility to build and implement the systems, practices, and mindsets that are going to sustain ALL of our students to learn at high levels.

Our second strategic goal is to:

Implement culturally responsive teaching practices and social-emotional learning (SEL) to develop the whole child.

As we have shared before, the diversity of our community is our most remarkable strength.  Each day, our East Prairie community learns from, with, and alongside one another, which we view as an incredible gift - and one that benefits both children and adults.  These opportunities are also complex and laden with challenge.  This strategic goal strives to cultivate the mindsets, practices, and policies to ensure we are supporting EVERY child in reaching their fullest potential.  Our school, like every public institution, has a responsibility to ensure we meet the needs of every child and every family - ensuring access and opportunity to the highest-quality educational experiences in an environment that is safe, caring, and inclusive.

This goal reflects our community’s priority of actualizing terms like “equity,” “culturally responsive practices,” and “social-emotional learning” into real, meaningful, and sustained action.  It reflects our focus for making changes that have a real impact, make a difference, and endure to improve not only our school and community, but the broader world as well.  This goal is a promise towards openly, earnestly, and collaboratively addressing the very real challenges and issues facing our school and community.  We know that despite our best intentions, and perhaps because of them, ensuring educational equity for every one of our students is a daily endeavor, requiring constant care and attention.

Our third strategic goal is to:

Provide professional learning through training and collaboration to support staff growth and maximize student success. 

This goal speaks to our school’s commitment to further developing collaborative systems and practices, while also ensuring our staff have the time, resources, professional learning, and support needed to accomplish what they are being called to do.  In order to achieve this - and all of our goals - we must build the collective capacity necessary for success. 

Our fourth strategic goal is to:     

Establish a decision-making process which focuses on all aspects of the district (i.e. students, contractual obligations, initiatives, priorities, etc.) yet ultimately results in a fiscally-responsible budget.
This goal reflects our fiduciary responsibility and trustworthy stewardship of taxpayer resources.  The district will continue to ensure that finances are spent in the most appropriate and impactful of ways.  Additionally, this goal addresses our desire to gather input and perspective as part of effective decision-making processes.  We strive to make financial decisions that will help us to achieve our goals, while ensuring sustainability for the future.

Our fifth and final strategic goal is to:

Further explore community opportunities and partnerships that enable East Prairie 73 to become the epicenter of the community that benefits the students and all stakeholders.

This goal specifically attends to a theme engrained throughout our plan - community! At East Prairie we seek to partner with families and additional stakeholders to create a learning environment where ALL kids and adults are valued, respected, and cared for.  We endeavor to instill in students the knowledge, values, and dispositions to contribute to our community and shared world in positive and impactful ways.  This goal also speaks to our desire to build new partnerships within the Skokie and Niles Township community, while expanding upon those that already exist.  

Each of us has an important role to play in supporting this goal and making sure our school, community, and broader shared world are healthy, safe, just, and equitable.  It is through our conversations, considerations, and most importantly actions, that we shape a stronger community for everyone. Together we will achieve this goal - and our others - by sustaining and strengthening the relationships between our homes, school, and community. 

We very much look forward to the hard work, creativity, and focus required to turn these words and ideas into action.  We remain confident of and committed to the endless possibility of our partnership.