U-46 to Discuss Decision-Making System

Article excerpt

Byline: Terri Tabor Daily Herald Staff Writer

When leaders in Elgin Area School District U-46 three years ago set out to give individual schools more power to make decisions, they had high hopes of improving students' education.

They envisioned giving the schools the authority to make decisions and start programs that are best for that school.

Since then, however, the snail's pace of change has caused them to question whether or not U-46 can change its ways.

On Thursday, after more than three hours of candid discussion among district leaders, union leaders and board members, the group decided not to give up.

"We haven't let our frustrations delude us so that we walk away from the table and say forget it," said Janet Korman, a board of education member.

The movement to shift decision-making from a hierarchy to a team effort is called the Partnership for Excellence in Learning, or PEL. And the group of district and union leaders and board members guiding the movement is the Partnership Council.

Schools represented by teachers, parents and administrators take steps to gain their own power. Together they undergo training that will allow them to make their own program decisions.

One shining example of the program's success is the new year-round calendars adopted by Channing, Garfield and Sheridan elementary schools in Elgin. The three schools, which are at risk of academic failure because of their high mobility and poverty rates, switched to the year-round schedule this year in hopes of improving academic achievement. …