Thursday night, the Board of Education unanimously approved seven goals for the upcoming school year, with them focusing on everything from putting a tangible definition of success to developing ways to improve itself.
“We are asking more of our teachers and our students, we can ask more of ourselves as well,” Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty said.
The goals are wide-ranging in scope. The seven are, with the wording lifted directly from Board documents:
1. The Board will develop a process to measure district success driven by data and other measures.
Explanation: Board of Education member John Taglianetti proposed this goal, saying the board should have a tangible way it can measure success. As Taglianetti said, Waterford considers itself to have a successful school system, but how do they really know that? By having some tangible barometers, that question can be answered, he said.
2. The Board will foster a climate that supports professional development by providing the necessary time and resources for its successful implementation.
Explanation: The board has to stay committed to giving teachers the time and support necessary to achieve ever-increasing standards, McCarty said.
3. The Board will review and update its existing polices with the goal of improving student achievement and full compliance with State of Connecticut legislative mandates.
4. The Board will develop a meaningful assessment tool for its own self-evaluation in order to measure Board effectiveness and set goals for improvements.
Explanation: McCarty said the board can “develop a tool to improve our own performance,” with the focus on “raising student achievement.”
5. The Board will explore the feasibility of student participation at Board meetings. In an initiative to enhance its student-centered focus, the Board will invite a high school student to present a report during committee reports on the Board agenda.
Explanation: Superintendent Jerome Belair said the idea is a member or members of each high school class’s government (like the freshmen class president, the sophomore class president, etc) would give a presentation to the Board of Education.
6. Continue to enhance the communication with Town Boards by updating Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting members every three to four months on financial status and Board initiatives and to continue to explore financial efficiencies, cost-cutting measures and regional opportunities.
Explanation: McCarty said there was very good attendance by members of other town boards at the school district’s budget hearings this winter, and that should be continued.
7. The Board will continue to strengthen those goals set in 2011-12: enhanced communication and transparency with other town boards and the community, strengthening the Learning Through Service Program, world languages and establishment of corporate sponsorships.
The Board passed the goals with little discussion. Board member Jody Nazarchyk said the goals are very achievable.
“I think (the list) is very doable,” she said. “We can do it.”