Department Chairs Best Equipped to Deliver Equity

The teachers commend the Board and our community for recognizing the importance of department chairs. We encourage them to continue to support this critical component of our academic excellence.

The teachers feel experimenting with a Division Head model as we continue the important task of building curriculum equity across schools is risky. With their wealth of institutional knowledge, our current department chairs are experts in the current curriculum and already have strong collaborative relationships with each other and with their teachers. The profound understanding of current practice is essential to capitalizing on our many existing strengths. Therefore, department chairs can achieve the administration and Board’s vision for curriculum equity most quickly.

Department chairs are industry standard.  

There are many reasons why the Department Chair model is what excellent schools use. District 86 is proud of its perennially high rankings in comparison to Illinois high schools. Department chairs are integral to those achievements. Other excellent districts that use department chairs: Community High School District 99 (Downers Grove),Glenbard District 87, Community High School District 128 (Libertyville and Vernon Hills), Maine Township High School District 207, Township High School District 211 (Fremd, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates), Township High School D214 (Prospect, Hersey, Wheeling, Elk Grove), Township High School District 113 (Deerfield and Highland Park).

The Division Head model has failed in competitive districts.

Two area schools have tried the Division Head model have returned to division chairs.This year, Niles Township High Schools District 219 is returning to the department chair model, abandoning its unsuccessful experiment with Division Heads.

Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 also reports the burden of teacher evaluations alone limited the division heads’ availability for other important curricular, personal, parent, and student matters.

Equity is already underway.

Department chairs have already begun the important work of creating curriculum equity in District 86. Department chairs engage in Job-Alike Meetings, and there has been significant work on “guaranteed and viable curriculum” charts. Department chairs across the district are creating a comprehensive plan, with timelines, deliverables, and benchmarks to continue the work toward a common curriculum. As content and teacher-leader experts, these already-productive current department chairs are the most efficient, knowledgeable, and capable leaders to move forward with the clear directive.

In order to support the Board’s strategic plan, District 86 should continue its tradition of excellence with the successful department chair model that is already bringing curriculum equity to fruition for students and the community.