New District 103 committee seeks to build trust

Superintendent wants to involve school board, staff, parents, students, villages

July 2nd, 2019 12:53 PM

By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

Superintendent Kristopher Rivera is in the process of creating a "community committee" to try and get all stakeholders in Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 to work together to achieve shared goals.

Rivera revealed his idea for the committee at the June 11 school board meeting.

The committee will be charged with developing a vision or mission for the district, identifying key goals and priorities to address in the future, and, perhaps most importantly, to increase community involvement and trust. 

Rivera is trying to build unity in a district that has been racked by bitter political animosity and distrust in recent years.

"When I interviewed I said it, I meant it: Shared leadership is something I really believe in and consensus decision making," Rivera said. "This is just another step in trying to align not only the students [but] staff and community together in this process."

The committee will consist of school board members, one parent from each of the district's six schools, one teacher per school, one support staff member per school, one student from each school and one representative from each of the five towns the district serves -- Brookfield, Lyons, Stickney, Forest View and McCook.

Rivera is reaching out the mayors of the five towns within District 103 to ask them to either serve on the committee or choose a representative from their town to serve on the committee. 

Each school's PTA or PTO will choose the parent representative, unions representing teachers and support staff will choose those committee representatives and building principals will choose the students for the committee.

"I'm going to go through each organization that I can," Rivera said in a telephone interview with the Landmark. "I'm going to try to be as systematic as I can, so people don't say, 'Hey, you picked this person because you love them.'" 

Rivera said even students as young as fifth-graders can help the committee understand what's going on inside the schools and can let the committee know how decisions might affect them. 

"They will definitely have a lot of great insight," said Rivera.

Rivera hopes to form the committee and hold the first meeting by the end of July. He anticipates the committee will meet four to six times this fall as it gets going and perhaps quarterly after that. The committee's role will be advisory only.

According to Rivera, the committee will examine overall district topics, help set goals, and brainstorm solutions to district problems. The committee will be supported by and receive data from the administration. 

Rivera hopes that the committee will allow the district to build consensus and trust and move past the political divisions that have characterized the district in recent years.

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