Is everything in the strategic plan still relevant, and what in it is a priority? Those questions and others were examined by the Juneau School District Board of Education on Saturday during a retreat meeting.
The board was satisfied with the nine-point strategic plan. Members were asked by Alaska School Boards Associate Director Joseph Reeves, who facilitated the meeting, to rank each point based on high, medium and low priority. The board, however, stated since each item was in the thoroughly vetted Strategic Plan, they were all highly important. Eventually members said points 1-7 were the most important, which includes student achievement and quality staff initiatives.
Board member Mark Choate said they should be using the data collected to evaluate whether and how to change any points.
Board members said highly-qualified staff initiatives should take priority in a budget-tightening scenario, with the belief that highly-qualified staff will positively affect student achievement.
The focus changed to how the board and administration would concentrate on aligning what’s being done — from classroom to administration — to match the plan.
Board members were asked to define how they could support achievement of goals through their policy decisions and through building community support.
“Data seems to show ... we probably need to have more seat time for kids,” Choate said. “Fewer electives and more core courses. If I was going to look for policy, would be to support what’s necessary to give more time, more quality instruction with teachers trained in core courses.”
Policy goals suggested by board members included increasing class time, increasing core instruction with qualified teachers, data-based decision-making, teacher evaluation policies and grading policies. Also suggested: Confirming in the policy that student needs come before the desires and comforts of adults. They suggested that process start with “real meat” rigor, middle and elementary school curriculum goals, continuing to review data to ensure student success improvement and expanding graduation task force to elementary and middle schools.
Suggested community support goals included aligning the budget with resources, defending the budget to the public, keeping the community informed of key decisions, better communication, educating parents about child skills, reading to children 20 minutes a day, building a cadre of community supporters and increasing awareness on the need to raise standards.
The board also conducted a self evaluation, superintendent evaluation and discussed committee roles.
Reeves will give a full report to the board, reviewing the outcomes of the session.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at email@example.com.
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