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Stakeholder Collaboration and Involvement

Morton School District 709

350 N Illinois Ave, Morton, IL, USA
Morton Community Unit School District 709
Category: Engagement with Administrator-Administration
Award: Silver, 2019

Project Description

The Morton CUSD 709 school district has an active and comprehensive K-12 music education program. In 2015 the district implemented a part-time Fine Arts Coordinator that began communicating with strategic stakeholders to ensure programming and funding goals were met. Since 2015, data has been kept on the involvement of students in extra-curricular music offerings, which begin in 5th grade for our students through our choral program and 6th grade for our students in our instrumental program. Students are tracked year to year for participation and funding structures, as well as reports to the school board and community. In 2018, the part-time Fine Arts Coordinator transitioned to a Director of Student Activities and Engagement for the school district with the goal that all district activities are monitored and evaluated at the level the Fine Arts program was being monitored and evaluated.

The project centers on information being shared with all stakeholders so they best understand ‘what we have’ while contributing to ‘where we are going’. Key communicators, including district administrators, board members, parents, and community members are also utilized to develop the ‘how we get there’ details.

Target Audience

The target audience for this project has been parent support organizations, the district administrative team, and the school board – all in a concerted effort to support student participation and offerings. Data is presented during booster meetings, PTO meetings and school board meetings. Stakeholders are a part of the process for student participation and achievement. Their ideas are widely accepted and embraced.

Our teachers are celebrated for their work while moving administrative procedures away from their day-to-day operations, allowing for them to focus on instruction and student growth.

Community Impact

The impact this project has had on the music community within our schools is extensive. Morton has always had strong community support for fine arts, but lacked an administrator to oversee operations, internally, of the music program. Through decision-makers at the board, district office, and school levels, Morton has improved recruitment and retention, excelled in the national and regional arena, and continued worked to ensure that the students are benefiting from strategic decisions. Morton CUSD 709 has been awarded two consecutive NAMM Best Communities for Music Education (2017, 2018). Morton community members are aware of school music programming and concerts and attend at a high level. The Morton Fine Arts Association further supports school district efforts in our community and the Morton Community Foundation continues to support our music programming financially.

Overall budget


Specific Budget Breakdown

The budget for this project is purely contracted administrator pay. All funds invested in the previous Fine Arts, now Director of Students Activities and Engagement.

New or recurring project?


How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

This project is on-going. The current iteration of this project focuses on 6th grade music offerings and the impact it has on the master schedule for the entire school district. Involved in that process is the Director of Activities and Student Engagement, the Superintendent of Human Resources, the Junior High Principal, and all four Elementary Principals. Music teachers at all levels have also contributed to working through this current layer of the project.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

Measurements are taken in the form of data points pertaining to scheduling, recruitment, retention and involvement from our key stakeholders. The most previous change to the project came in the form of moving the part-time Fine Arts Coordinator to a full time administrative position as the Director of Student Activities and Engagement. That adjustment has allowed extensive conversations with the community, school board, and administrative team, district-wide, pertaining to music education, programming, and curriculum.

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

The most foundational piece of advice I can provide is ‘explain what you have and what you need’. Too often, music educators talk about what they don’t have or what they wish they had. The key to the success of this project has been “talking ‘administrator’ to the administration about the music program.” It takes some work, but once you know the key-indicators that your school board, district and school administration, and community value as talking points, music educators can hone in on how the music program amplifies those values.

Supporting Materials

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