A Publication of WTVP

Peoria Public School District 150’s exciting and exhilarating strategic planning session took place October 28 to 30. Under the leadership of Dr. Kay Royster, and masterfully facilitated by Dr. Bill Cook of the Cambridge Group, approximately 45 individuals from the greater Peoria area joined together for the purpose of developing a mission/vision statement for the district. Other outcomes of this effort were a set of core beliefs, parameters for future decision making, and objectives and strategies for future action teams to develop.

The mission/value statement is the most important step. The goal of a mission/value statement is to dream about what you want to be at some point in the future. It’s about creating the future—not the result of some choices currently present. If that dream looks like what you are now, it won’t be very effective or inspiring. All people need to believe there’s a purpose and a future beyond themselves worth giving of themselves to achieve.

This important statement was identified for District 150: “The mission of the Peoria Public Schools, the cornerstone of academic excellence and the unifying force of our diverse community, is to ensure that each student reaches his or her full academic and personal potential and is a well balanced citizen through an educational approach characterized by: continuously redefining teaching and learning, optimizing technology to transform the system, providing safe and nurturing environments, engaging and enabling families, effecting community partnerships, embracing and honoring all aspects of diversity, and guaranteeing professional staff who are committed to students.”

What a very powerful statement. Unfortunately, the real essence of this statement and the energy and enthusiasm that emerged during the three days of the strategic planning process didn’t get communicated by the local media.

The next step is to take this framework, yet unapproved by the District 150 school board, and solicit feedback to ensure it meets the dreams of our teachers and community. The participants of the October 28 to 30 planning process will reconvene in approximately five months to review the progress to date. All of this should be completed and approved for inclusion in the 2003-2004 school year.

The term “unifying force” is the phrase of this mission statement that most reflects the importance of District 150 and its commitment to Peoria’s future. As a community, if we’re committed to the knowledge economy through the efforts of Peoria Next, if we’re committed to a Workforce Development plan that meets the needs of the knowledge economy, if we believe retention of our young people is critical to the future of Peoria, then the unifying force is education, i.e. District 150.

The business community should compliment Dr. Royster for putting District 150 front and center during the three months she’s been superintendent. Through Dr. Royster, District 150 participates in Peoria Next and Peoria Civic Federation, and she’s co-chair of the Greater Peoria Vision 20/20. Now she’s brought together a diverse constituency to help build the future of District 150. She needs and deserves all of our support. More importantly, the children need and deserve our support to ensure the dreams of District 150—and ultimately the dreams of our children—are realized. IBI