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updated: 3/4/2014 6:17 PM

Strategic planning to be discussed at Hawthorn District 73 forum

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School officials are seeking public input as a long planning process regarding restructuring in Hawthorn Elementary District 73 is turning the corner.

The school board will meet as a committee of whole at 6 p.m. Thursday at Middle School South, 600 N. Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills to discuss strategic planning, an important element in the eventual reorganization of district schools.

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A review of the plan and audience questions also are on the agenda for the two-hour session. Those who want to attend are asked to view the draft strategic plan presentation on the district's website http://www.hawthorn73.org/.

Participants also will be asked to respond to a short survey as the board seeks opinions on issues including offering a full-day kindergarten and expanding the dual language program into middle school, for example.

"We want to get input from the community about how we allocate resources," board President Jeff Bard said.

Last October, the board agreed to develop a strategic plan to outline the district's vision, goals and priorities, and a planning committee has met several times since December. The information will be used to support decisions regarding the organization of the district, including which schools students attend.

Information including the district's perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats developed during the process will be used by Superintendent Nick Brown and others to develop recommendations by April.

"By spring, we should have a pretty clear picture of where we're going," Bard said.

One factor is the adequate yearly progress that is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Hawthorn Elementary North and South did not make adequate progress in 2012-13, as determined by state standardized tests. Parents at those schools have been notified that their children have the right to transfer to Townline Elementary, the only District 73 school to meet the mark, for the 2014-2015 school year.

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