Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members are starting an initiative some officials hope bolsters community relations and leads to a positive light being shined on the schools.
Board members agreed to an "adopt-a-school" program for the 2011-12 academic year. District 46 board president Ray Millington gave an enthusiastic endorsement to the effort while discussing its logistics Friday.
"If we can make the atmosphere friendlier and lighter in the district, then, by gosh, I'm all for it," Millington said.
Adopt-a-school programs are in place elsewhere, such as Naperville Unit District 203. Board members at that 22-building district are assigned three or four schools where they are expected to develop personal relationships.
District 46 has seven schools. All seven board members have been assigned a building where they may wind up seeing a band performance or something specific happening in a classroom.
Millington said he's viewing adopt-a-school as a trial program. He said he expects board members will improve their relationships with the community, school administration and teachers.
Board member Shannon Smigielski pushed for the adopt-a-school concept since she started in May. Smigielski said there should be a focus on what's positive in the buildings.
Although some administrators expressed concern about teachers possibly becoming stressed over the elected officials' visits, Smigielski said that shouldn't be the case if protocols are followed.
"I don't think it should ever be a drop-in program -- ever," she said.
One suggestion is for the District 46 board members to contact principals at their assigned schools for activity schedules and other information before any planned visits.
Board member Karen Weinert reiterated concerns about the adopt-a-school program, saying she prefers officials to be together for building visits. She also panned the idea of having monthly board reports on the school visits.
At Naperville District 203, the adopt-a-school program has been around for at least 10 years. Board members do everything from attend special events to visit classrooms while school's in session.
School assignments are rotated annually among District 203's board members. They aren't given buildings where their children have classes.