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'Ambitious' Goals Outlined for New School Year

Improving school district culture a top priority of officials.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried outlined the 10 district-wide goals for the 2012-13 school year during Tuesday night's board of education meeting, with focusing on creating a culture for student achievement at the top of the list. 

Fried broke the goals down into four major categories–student learning, communication and community involvement, human resources and business practices. 

“The most important category is student learning,” he said.

The goals associated with that category included researching areas that affect the culture of the school district, such as homework, drugs, student placement and competition; refocusing attention on the music and world language programs at all grade levels; implementing the original science research program at ; and evaluating media centers, such as the libraries, to ensure they are being used to their full potential.

Fried discussed the importance of continuing to evaluate based on an individual child's needs and announced that the district would implement a “no homework” day this year. 

Board member Jackie Ritschel suggested that, as a way to evaluate different education systems, the board show part of a film, entitled “2 Million Minutes,” at a future meeting. The documentary highlights education differences in other countries through the comparison of the high school careers of two students in America, two in China and two in India. 

In addition to the focus on student learning, Fried said one of the most important goals this year will be piloting the new teacher and principal evaluation systems, which will eventually be conducted using iPad technology.

“Because of it’s complexity, it can produce anxiety,” Fried said, emphasizing the importance of familiarizing teachers and administrators with the new system.

The in these evaluations will be beneficial in the future, Fried said, as data will accumulate on the iPads, allowing for administrators to evaluate different trends and make necessary changes based on those trends.

Fried emphasized that all the goals outlined were ambitious and should be viewed as long-term aspirations. 

“I like the goals to be ambitious,” he said. “I don’t actually expect every goal to be completed 100 percent by June, but they are meant to challenge me, challenge the administration and the staff.”

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