The Board of Education adopted a number of goals and guidelines Thursday that will be incorporated into a three-year strategic operating plan toward improving student achievement in the New London Public Schools.
The board unanimously accepted a vision statement, theory of action, and performance targets for the plan. The vision statement gives a statement on where the district should be in five years, while the theory of action sets a strategy toward achieving these goals. The performance targets specify annual benchmarks the schools should work for over the course of the three-year plan.
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The strategic operating plan is part of an effort by the board, working with state-appointed special master Dr. Steven Adamowski and district administration, to bring New London’s standardized test scores and other performance indexes up to state averages. The components will be developed in subsequent meetings to be included in a draft of the strategic operating plan in February. The plan will set guidelines for a number of areas including facility plans, preparation of budgets, and the evaluation of the superintendent.
The vision statement says New London should be a “regional center for educational excellence” built on diverse schools making use of the city’s cultural assets. The statement says the district should also include parental involvement, diverse staff, “relevance, academic rigor, [and] innovative and engaging instruction.” The vision statement concludes that all students should graduate prepared for college or a career.
The theory of action follows the managed performance empowerment model, in which higher performing schools are given greater degrees of autonomy while mid-level schools receive “defined autonomy” for programs and operations to build their capacity for improvement. Low-performing schools that fail to improve student achievement will be subject to “district intervention, redesign, closure or replacement with higher-performing school models.”
“A managed performance empowerment theory of action leads to a system of high-performing, diverse, financially sustainable schools of choice organized into K-12 pathways,” the theory of action reads.
The performance targets seek to improve the following areas:
- A gain of five index points a year on the District School Performance Index
- An improvement at least one school by one performance category on this index each year
- A gain of four percentage points each year in mathematics on the Connecticut Mastery Tests
- A gain of two percentage points each year in reading on the CMT
- A gain of four percentage points each year in writing on the CMT
- A gain of six percentage points each year in grade eight science scores on the CMT
- A gain of four percentage points in mathematics, two percentage points in reading, three percentage points in writing, and five percentage points in science each year on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test
- Having English Language Learners and students with disabilities achieve at the same rates of growth as their peers
- Increasing the four-year graduation rate by three percent each year from the 2011 rate of 62 percent
- Increasing the total high school graduation rate, including students who graduate in more than four years
- Increasing the percentage of 11th year students who achieve the college-readiness benchmark on the grade 11 PSAT at the same rate as the increase in four-year graduation rates
- Increasing the two-year and four-year college attendance rate each year as measured by the National Center for Education Statistics