CHATHAM–Schools Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo discussed the district’s focus areas for the 2012-13 school year at the August 28 board meeting, and the board adopted two new policies.
The district had been working on identifying focus areas for the upcoming year, and came up with the following:
*Improving student achievement
*Implementing a successful anti-bullying program
*Implementing the new system of evaluating teachers and principals
*Providing a strong guidance program to better prepare students for life after high school
*Developing a plan for district facilities to reflect future programming priorities and meet the district’s long-term financial needs.
Ms. Nuciforo said that all of the focus areas touch on the district’s long-term goals. Typically, milestone events and benchmarks would be set for each goal to evaluate success in that area. But Ms. Nuciforo said, “There’s a shift from marking milestone events or benchmarks to actually measuring evidence of progress.”
Evidence of progress would be measured by collecting data and comparing it to baseline data, according to Ms. Nuciforo. Collecting data for a few of the focus points could be done through survey results and feedback.
“Measuring student achievement could be a little tricky,” she said.
Ms. Nuciforo said there are many different ways to evaluate progress in student achievement. Passing rates could be compared in each grade from year to year, or groups of students can be compared against themselves from year to year. Another possibility is that passing rates can be compared to other, similar school districts.
There will be a strategic planning committee meeting September 17 to further discuss the methods of measuring progress in the focus areas. Ms. Nuciforo said the district will have baseline data within a few weeks following that meeting.
Also at Tuesday evening’s meeting, the board adopted two new policies. The new Staff-Student Relations Policy prohibits inappropriate staff behavior and fraternization with students. The new mobile device policy now allows students to have mobile devices in school, though they will be subject the district’s Internet policy.
A new anti-bullying policy was also discussed. Board member Michael Clark said that the state recently amended the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), the state’s anti-bullying law, to add to the obligations that school districts have for preventing bullying.
“The new amendment specifies that the school district can take responsibility for actions of cyber-bullying that occur off-campus,” said Mr. Clark. “This is a new model policy with changed language to reflect the amendments.”
There will be an informational town hall meeting September 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Chatham High School library to discuss the facilities study report and the possible school closure option.