Stevenson officials to stay in district boundaries for annual retreats

Stevenson High School has decided to keep school officials’ start-the-year retreat within its district boundaries.

Like many suburban districts, Stevenson hosts an annual conference between elected officials and staff leaders to address concerns and finalize plans before the hallways fill again.

Some districts take their meetings to downtown Chicago or even Wisconsin. Jim Conrey, SHS’s spokesman, said the school’s retreats have always been in the suburbs, but officials have decided for the foreseeable future to use hotels inside district borders.

“If they’re going to do this off campus, they’re going to stay inside the district,” Conrey said. “Thus, the dollars stay inside the district.”

Stevenson booked its 2014 retreat for Aug. 8-9 at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, 10 Marriott Drive.

The schedule includes six of the seven board members and 27 administrators going through the results of a state-mandated student survey about alcohol and drug use; another survey from Stanford University about attitudes, homework and pressure; the scores from the past year’s standardized tests; and more.

The Marriott’s bottom-line bill will be about $3,000, comparable to the rate the school paid the Embassy Suites Chicago North Shore in Deerfield and other hotels in the past, Conrey said.

The point of meeting off campus, for Stevenson and many other districts, is to physically remove the decision-makers from their usual stomping grounds, hoping that the change of scenery will result in more creative thinking, he said.

“Just like in the business world, where they do a lot of retreats, the idea is to break out of that routine mentality,” Conrey said. “One more meeting in the building, you sort of fall into the same mentality.”

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