Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Board and Superintendent Set Annual District Goals

During this month, the Board of Education and the Board's personnel committee has been working on annual goals for the Superintendent and the School District. The final goals will be adopted in August. I'm going to post some of the draft goals over the next few days. Superintendent Goals represent the shared expectations of the Board and Superintendent regarding the progress that the District will make on the District’s strategic objectives during the coming years. The Board doesn't set goals for the district by fiat, but rather in consultation with the Superintendent. As part of the goal-setting process, the Superintendent consults with his leadership team and recommends to the Board specific targets and deadlines to measure progress along the way. After adoption, he then reports on progress towards these targets throughout the year.

Academic Goals: The first set of goals would focus on academic progress and is titled:

District Strategic Plan Regarding Academic Excellence

This Goal states that "The District will communicate clearly to parents, employees and the public, the purpose and meaning of the educational and other performance standards in the vision card system..."

The "vision card" system is a method of keeping track of how the district and its individual schools are doing in a variety of areas of academic performance. It not only measures academic performance, but it also sets goals for improvement. Vision card A1, called the "All Student Learning Scorecard" It gives us a measuring rod in each of 20 accountability areas.

Here are some examples of some of the twenty accountability measures that are monitored by the All-student-learning-scorecard that the Board of Education has adopted. You can see all twenty by clicking on the link above:
  • NWEA Map Growth in mathematics. (1) This is a measure of how much math students are learning in a year of school, using the NWEA Measure of Academic Progress tests that are given three times per year. I've discussed the NWEA system in two prior posts. This is an example of a growth measure of academic progress. Growth measures are important because they tell us whether students are learning each year.
  • MCA (2) Reading Levels. These are measures of reading proficiency by grade level as measured at year-end by State of Minnesota tests. Proficiency measures tell us how many of our students score equal to, or better, than the cut score that Minnesota sets as proficient. Proficiency scores are important because they are often used by politicians as the central measure of school success.
  • ACT Benchmark Scores ACT scores are examples of what we call "Capstone" scores, because they are measures taken only at the end of a student's career, just before graduation.
  • Advance Placement Participation Our "All Student Learning Scorecard" also measure the number of students who take advanced placement courses as well as the number of students who receive advance placement scores that qualify them for college credit. These are important measures of the number of our students who are taking the hardest courses generally available in American high schools, and we want to monitor our progress in these areas, because they are an area in which our district shines in comparison with most schools in Minnesota.
The All Student Learning Scorecard reports results district-wide in each of these and 15 other areas. It also adopts benchmarks for scores that we regard as acceptable, unacceptable, and exceptional. We want the superintendent to present this accountability system in an understandable way, so that parents and others in the community understand our results. We expect him report our score results annually, and to report on efforts to make improvements where improvement is necessary.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss some of the other goals that the board of education has proposed.

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