The mission statement for Riverside-Brookfield High School has not changed in nearly 28 years, but next week the District 208 Board of Education is poised to adopt a new mission statement.

However, before the board approves its new mission statement, which it has posted on its website, at its April 27 meeting, it is seeking input from the community. The school board is soliciting feedback and suggestions from the community, asking residents to fill out an online form, which can be found here, before it approves the new mission statement.

The proposed mission statement is very similar to the existing one, which was adopted in 1993, but adds the words innovation and achievement as well as prioritizing character.

“At Riverside-Brookfield High School, we value character as well as achievement,” the proposed mission statement reads. “A partnership of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and taxpayers committed to educational excellence and innovation, we deliver a rigorous and well-balanced education for the academic, artistic, athletic, social-emotional and civic growth of each student. Graduates are well-equipped to be responsible members of a diverse and ever-changing world.”

Last year, before the COVID 19 pandemic hit, the board decided to redo the school’s mission statement as part of a limited strategic planning process.

“There was consensus by the board, pretty much everybody, that it was time to rethink it, to refresh it, if you will,” said board member Tom Jacobs, who has taken the lead in developing and writing the new mission statement.

During this pandemic year, reworking the mission statement understandably took a back seat to operating a school during a pandemic. In recent months, however, the board has been debating proposed statements and wordsmithing a final draft.

The challenges the school has faced during the pandemic has emphasized the need for innovation, Jacobs said.

“That crisis, if you will, exposed the strengths and the weaknesses of the school like nothing else,” Jacobs said. 

At its April 13 meeting, the school board debated whether to include the word “athletic” in the mission statement and decided to add the words “social-emotional” and “civic” to the areas of growth the school intends to foster.

Since the mission statement has been in development for months, the consensus of the board is to have the current board adopt the statement before two new board members, Lorena Gasca and Ryan VenHorst, are seated next month.

Gasca and VenHorst say they have no problem with the current board adopting the mission statement.

“It’s work that they’ve been doing for the past year. I think there has been enough opportunities for community members to have input,” Gasca said. “I’ve seen it, I think it’s fine.”