USD 457 school board reviews status of goals




USD 457 school board members discussed 2012-13 board goals, the five-year strategic plan and district remodeling and repair projects at Monday night's meeting.

The Board of Education's 2012-13 goals consisted of four overall objectives: continue to raise academic standards for all students; provide effective management of district resources; continue to refine processes to improve communication; and provide a support structure that will maximize learning in a safe, orderly and healthy environment. Within those four goals were 19 sub-goals.

USD 457 Superintendent Rick Atha and Assistant Superintendent Darren Dennis went over which goals were met and which were not.

"We did gain, we just didn't gain 10 percent," Dennis said, referring to a sub-goal of increasing the rigor of curriculum for all students. "In order for us to be consistently meeting our goal with Common Core, we need to make that a priority and that will continue to be a focus for us."

Dennis also went over the another sub goal, adapting instruction in order to meet the challenge of Common Core standards.

"I think we made significant gains on this. We called it a target, but it really depended on where you were at, what grade level. As I think you know already, we really started our focus with Common Core at the kindergarten level, not this most recent school year, but the one before that. This most recent school year, we moved that to a K-2 focus and at that level, we've been, I think, very successful in implementing Common Core," Dennis said. "As we move up, our focus continues to move up, so upper elementary, 3-6, we're in target, we've aligned curriculum and we're ready to implement. At the secondary level, there's been a significant amount of professional development provided as we're in the process of writing curriculum. It's not done yet; it will be done this fall. So Common Core is a huge topic and it's one that it's going to take us, I think, years to implement the way it needs to be done, but we're making significant progress toward that goal."

Atha discussed several other sub-goals, including warranty issues at Garden City High School. Atha said that the HVAC, heating and cooling system and gymnasium floors each had warranty issues that will be addressed. Because both are under warranty, there will be no expense to the district.

As part of goal two, board members approved projects at Horace Good Middle School and Abe Hubert Elementary School that Atha said will help in the conversion process from a high school to a middle school and from a middle school to an elementary school, as part of the long-range plan.

The projects, Atha said, will be finished this summer and include replacement of ceiling tiles, painting and carpeting.

"We have a lot of the project completed and it's in very good shape. It's been a smooth process with very few change orders," Atha said.

Atha also went over one of the sub-goals, which is to implement, monitor and evaluate the plan to realign K-8 attendance center boundaries for 2012-13 school year.

"We've hit that at the target area, but we're not at the maximum on that because we need data, and it's going to take us a couple of years to collect data to determine if our neighborhood school is really working to where we will reduce forced transfers in the district. The indicator right now is that we have reduced forced transfers but we live in a very transient community," Atha said.

Atha also went over the second of three initiatives of the five-year strategic plan.

The two goals of the second initiative are expansion and enhancement of communication with the board, parents, staff, students and community and continuing to provide opportunities for increased parent and community involvement in USD 457 schools.

The first initiative of the five-year strategic plan was student achievement, presented to the board in May.

A third initiative, efficiency, safety and infrastructure, will be presented to the board at a later date.

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