Friday, July 23, 2010

Superintendent's Goals

Race to the Top and the National Common Core Standards are signaling a significant change in the leadership, structure and focus of K-12 public education in Michigan. The ever-eroding local control of school districts and centralization of public education, increasing reliance solely on reading and math standardized test scores to evaluate the effectiveness of schools and teachers, and the necessity of preparing students for college, career and life-long learning are all leading towards a fundamental shift in traditional schools.

In our district, the situation is compounded by the realization that most of our students are not graduating ready for college and career. Many are entering each phase of their respective K-12 careers seriously lacking basic reading and math skills and struggling to master the curriculum. What are some of the more evident impediments that serve as road blocks to student achievement?

  • Limited English language proficiency in a significant percentage of our students.
  • Low-income households that limit exposure to a variety of learning activities beginning with basic literacy and math skills.
  • Transiency that sees many of our students changing schools on a frequent basis.
  • Lack of significant parent involvement beyond the early elementary years.
  • A culture of low expectations that permeates our classrooms, school buildings, and district as a whole.
  • Insufficient resources, particularly in terms of funding to support adequate extended learning structures.
  • An unwillingness on the part of parents, staff, and sometimes even students to move away from the traditional structures of K-12 education and re-invent our schools to meet the needs of 21st century students.

This coming school year presents itself as a watershed opportunity to break down the walls that are preventing us from reaching the potential for success we all know we are capable of achieving. To move forward, I've established ten significant goals for the next five years, having shared them this summer with our Board of Education and the administrative team:
All schools establishing challenging "reach goals" within their school improvement plans and consistently aligning classroom and building activities focused on achieving their respective goals.

All students attaining grade level proficiency in reading and math by the end of the 3rd , 6th and 9th grades, and all secondary students scoring proficient in reading and math as measured by the state assessment.

All students successfully completing Algebra I by the end of their 9th grade year.

All graduating seniors meeting college and career readiness standards at a level that increases the probability of successfully completing the first year of college.

Significantly increasing instructional time and providing for quality learning activities.

All students graduating proficient in at least one language other than their native language.

Successfully implementing the 1:1 program for grades 6-12 and increasing appropriate instructional technology at the elementary level.

Increasing the availability of and enrollment in accelerated programming and courses.

Increasing parent and community involvement.

Balancing the budget and maintaining at least a 15% fund equity.

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