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Community gives input on next principal of Hinsdale South

<p>Hinsdale South High School &nbsp;| Sun-Times Media file photo</p>

Hinsdale South High School  | Sun-Times Media file photo

District 86 students and adults alike agree they want a principal who involves the staff in decision-making.

They also want someone who was a classroom teacher in a core content area, and has worked with a diverse student population and high-performing students.

Those are some of the results of an online survey, completed by 373 people.

Of the people who responded, 58 percent said they have lived more than 10 years in the district, 25 percent do not live in the district, and 12 percent have lived in District 86 for between 4 and 10 years.

More than half the surveys, 57 percent, were completed by parents of students. Twenty-eight percent of the respondents identified themselves as Hinsdale South employees.

Only 6 percent were Hinsdale South students, which means fewer than 25 students weighed in on what kind of principal they wanted in charge of their school.

The students who responded wanted their parents involved, more than the parents themselves did, apparently.

On the question of whether the new principal should have experience involving parents in decision-making, the average student score was 4.42, compared with the adults’ score of 3.83.

The majority of respondents favor hiring a principal who worked as a principal elsewhere.

On a scale, where 1 meant “not at all important;” 3 meant “somewhat important;” and 5 meant “mandatory,” hiring someone who already has five years experience as a principal scored 3.69 among students and 3.44 among adults.

The survey results include colorful graphs illustrating people’s preferences for management styles and personality traits.

The strongest preferences shown are for someone who is enthusiastic versus reserved, yet is “assertive,” as opposed to “laid back.”

When asked to identify the biggest challenges Hinsdale South faces, 55 percent chose recruiting and retaining high-quality staff in an increasingly competitive market; and 51 percent picked sustaining high-quality academic programs over time.

At the bottom of the list of challenges, selected by less than 10 percent of the respondents, were increasing communications with parents and the community; increasing the number of students attending college; and providing counseling, psychologist and social work services.

The full results are available at http://south.hinsdale86.org/

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