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Improve Achievement and New Super

Goals being set for 2011-2012 school year

The issue of establishing specific goals for thewas the subject of discussion at both the inaugural meeting of the Board, held on August 25, as well as the September 1 Work Session last week.

While the subject was brought up in the Agenda Planning portion of the initial meeting, it was first raised last year by Board Kail who asked “what is it that we as a Board are trying to accomplish?"

During the August 25th meeting, Board Chairman Steve Anderson suggested that that the initial discussion of Board of Education goals should follow the Board's "Achievement Summit."

Anderson offered that these goals be simple and short ones, such as hiring a permanent Superintendent and getting the system focused on student achievement. The agreed game plan would be an initial discussion at the 9/1 Work Session and a final discussion at the next Board meeting later this month.

At last week's Work Session, Chairman Anderson started the discussion by once again stating that he thought the goals "need to be short and concise." Anderson believes that the District needs "to address improving our students' results and successfully hire the correct Superintendent. Period." 

Other Board member however felt more specificity was needed with Board member Nancy Kail asking “how would we measure board achievement of the progress on these goals?”

One recommendation made was that the goals be based upon the previously held discussion on Academic Achievement with a focus upon understanding and supporting the strategies that the Administration are to come back to the Board with and then ensuring budgetary support for them.

Leslie Moriarity, Vice-Chairman of the Board, suggested there be an additional goal focused on communications and outreach possibilities.  She noted that this has been discussed often in the past but that the Board has never actively pursued a program. Other board members endorsed adding the item.

Marianna Ponns Cohen suggested that the Board "learn from past mistakes" and not allow building problems to distract the Board.

Peter Sherr believes that a reform of the Policy Governance structure of the Board is necessary when examining how the Board is functioning. Reacting to a suggestion that there be a review of the Board use of Policy Governance as a framework for how it operates, Moriarity stated that this approach assumed that Policy Governance was a problem. Anderson recommended that it may be better to
simply examine the Board structure in general.

With the discussion of student achievement and diverse needs just underway, it is expected that the Board’s goals will be influenced by the continued focus on these issues.

In addition, what is certain to have an impact on the goals is the "Adequate Yearly Progress," or AYP attained by Greenwich Schools. AYP is the CT State Department of Education's means of determining how students are fairing in the classroom.

Those standards are set on the federal level by the No Child Left Behind Law, which has mandated that all schools meet federal curriculum standards by 2014. Originally the AYP results were
included in the Achievement Summit last week, however the information was pulled as it is still embargoed by the CT State Department of Education.

In summary, Anderson said that he would do a preliminary drafting of the goals “with no pride of authorship”, seeking input from others and said the goals would focus on strategies and alignment of the budget in regards to improving academic performance, communications and outreach, a successful completion of the Superintendent search and lastly, board structure.

The topic will return for further discussion at the September 22 Business meeting which will be held at

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