If It Ain’t Broke . . .

On January 7, 2019, the Board posed important questions regarding an administrative proposal for changes to leadership structure in completing the final phases of curriculum equity. But why the rush to make wholesale changes in the midst of a crisis to a leadership structure that has proven its ability to deliver academic excellence, year over year, any way one looks at the data?

Under the current building-level Department Chair structure, every common assessment of record shows that our teachers deliver academic excellence uncommon in other districts.

Our students don’t just meet state standards.

Our students don’t just exceed state standards.

Our students blow away state standards, in many cases by more than double or triple the state level.

According to the Illinois State Report Card, on standardized common assessments like SAT and PARCC, District 86 students exceed proficiency at nearly three times that of state averages. Due to these measures of student academic achievement, our district schools are regularly listed among the top public high schools in the state of Illinois, and a fixture in rankings of  the top high school districts in the United States.

Our department chair structure is integral to these uncommon results, and foundational to our tradition of excellence. No wonder over ninety-percent of teachers view our building-level department chairs as superior to administrative curriculum directors. Hinsdale D86 teachers know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating academic excellence for their students. Our record of academic excellence proves it.

To be clear, no one is arguing against academic equity or necessary changes to achieve it–far from it. But ‘academic equity” has been a moving target for years now, as the district has seen major administrative changes since 2013 up until and including this school year. Yet despite the significant changes in district leadership, department chairs have delivered on every administrative directive to date, from conducting job-alike meetings to curriculum mapping across both campuses.

There can be no doubt that department chairs have worked diligently and met every directive they’ve received regarding equity. They have created a realistic plan to rapidly achieve equity as it is now defined that only their intimate knowledge of district staff, curriculum, and subject matter expertise could have provided. We emphatically believe department chairs are the best equipped to deliver equity in a way that expands upon our existing tradition of excellence.

So, why risk damaging a tradition of excellence clearly achieved with a Department Chair structure, that is supported by ninety-percent of teachers and is the standard in high achieving peer districts? Why rush through the largest curricular change in the history of the district during a time of crisis and crushing morale, only to adopt an administrative model abandoned by other high achieving districts?

We can’t see the point of tampering with our proven tradition of excellence to achieve a rushed administrative directive.