NCSS re­leases im­prove­ment plan

Plan out­lines No Child Left Be­hind per­for­mance goals

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Jenny Thompson

Mem­bers of the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced the pub­lic re­lease of their dis­trict im­prove­ment plan on the sys­tem’s Web site at Tues­day night’s meet­ing.

The plan out­lines four ma­jor per­for­mance goals re­lat­ing to the No Child Left Be­hind Act as well as sev­eral in­struc­tional sup­port ser­vices goals. An­other pos­si­ble seven goals are un­der re­view by the board and cen­tral of­fice staff.

“The aim of the strate­gic plan is the im­prove­ment of both stu­dent achieve­ment and that of the school sys­tem,” said Su­per­in­ten­dent Steven What­ley. “Stu­dent learn­ing is our ul­ti­mate goal.”

The first goal is the same goal of the NCLB — to have all stu­dents per­form­ing at grade level in read­ing and math­e­mat­ics by 2014.

Tar - geted sub­groups are also out­lined in the plan. The sys­tem will tar­get stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties in first through eighth grade and English lan­guage learn­ers and black stu­dents as ju­niors in high school.

By 2009, sys­tem ad­min­is­tra­tors want 89.5 per­cent of New­ton County stu­dents in first through eighth grade show­ing pro­fi­ciency in read­ing and 86.6 per­cent in math­e­mat­ics.

They also want 96.4 per­cent of ju­niors meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing state English and lan­guage arts stan­dards and 81.5 per­cent meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing mathe- matics stan­dards on the Ge­or­gia High School Grad­u­a­tion Test by 2009.

Strate­gies for this achieve­ment in­clude de­vel­op­ing com­pre­hen­sive cur­ricu­lum guides, con­sis­tent county-wide course syl­labi and time­lines for teach­ing of core con­tent, as well as in­te­grat­ing tech­nol­ogy, ex­pand­ing re­me­dial pro­grams, pro­vid­ing stu­dents with sam­ples of ex­em­plary work, de­vel­op­ing and ad­min­is­ter­ing pre-tests as­sess­ing stu­dents’ abil­i­ties, im­ple­ment­ing writ­ing across the cur­ricu­lum, in­volv­ing stu­dents in au­then­tic math ex­pe­ri­ences, pro­vid­ing on-go­ing pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, form­ing di­verse school im­prove­ment lead­er­ship teams and mon­i­tor­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of th­ese plans.

The sec­ond NCLB per­for­mance goal is to have all English lan­guage learn­ers be­come pro­fi­cient in read­ing and math­e­mat­ics.

By 2009, the goal is for 81 per­cent of ELLs in first through eighth grade to meet or ex­ceed stan­dards in math and lan­guage arts. They sys­tem wants to see 60 per­cent of ju­nior ELLs to pass end of course tests in lan­guage arts and math­e­mat­ics.

Strate­gies for th­ese two achieve­ments in­clude the same ac­tions as the first goal but add pro­vid­ing trans­la­tors and in-home ser­vices for par­ents and stu­dents.

The third goal seeks to have all stu­dents taught by highly qual­i­fied teach­ers. Sys­tem ad­min­is­tra­tors hope pro­mot­ing sys­tem-wide job fairs, ex­pand­ing the on­line ap­pli­ca­tion process, mon­i­tor­ing new staff mem­bers, ad­vis­ing teach­ers of course work and test­ing needed to gain highly qual­i­fied sta­tus, re­cruit­ing with in­cen­tive pack­ages in­clud­ing free lap­tops, pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port for ex­ams, study­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of re­duc­ing the kinder­garten through third grade class size to 18 and pro­vid­ing on­go­ing pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment will im­prove fac­ulty skills and uti­liza­tion of those skills.

The last NCLB per­for­mance goal as­pires to pro­vide stu­dents with learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments that are safe, drug free and con­duc­tive to learn­ing.

Sys­tem ad­min­is­tra­tors want the sus­pen­sion rates re­lat­ing to drug or weapons vi­o­la­tions to de­crease .05 per­cent for each of the next three years. They also want at­ten­dance rates to im­prove for all stu­dents, with ab­sen­tee rates de­creas­ing .3 per­cent over the next three years.

Ac­tions to at­tain th­ese goals in­clude en­rich­ing schools with tech­nol­ogy, con­tin­u­ing and en­hanc­ing char­ac­ter ed­u­ca­tion and es­tab­lish­ing a pro­to­col to mon­i­tor at­ten­dance pat­terns on a con­stant ba­sis.

What­ley said all the de­part­ments of the cen­tral of­fice and ser­vice cen­ter should fo­cus on the im­prove­ment of and sup­port for stu­dent learn­ing and achieve­ment. “This plan charts the ac­tions, strate­gies or pro­grams planned to help

us reach our goals,” he said.

Check list

The board has also iden­ti­fied sev­eral key in­struc­tional sup­port ser­vices goals to re­search and im­ple­ment dur­ing the next cou­ple of years. They are:

1. Im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tions of fa­cil­ity needs and man­age­ment

2. Study pre-K pro­gram for so­lu­tions to class­room space con­cerns

3. Main­tain, up­grade and con­struct ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties

4. Im­prove trans­porta­tion de­part­ment ser­vices

5. Im­prove stu­dent par­tic­i­pa­tion in nu­tri­tion pro­gram and prof­itabil­ity of pro­gram

6. Pro­vide im­proved ser­vices to em­ploy­ees

7. Re­cruit, em­ploy and re­tain the most highly qual­i­fied teach­ers

8. Iden­tify/es­tab­lish ac­tiv­i­ties to in­volve par­ents and in­crease two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween schools and par­ents

9. Im­prove cus­tomer ser­vice at the school and sys­tem level 10. Im­prove pub­lic im­age 11. Im­prove over­all com­mu­ni­ca­tion through var­i­ous strate­gies

12. Strengthen Cor­ner­stones/ Part­ners in Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram

13. En­hance sys­tem vis­i­bil­ity and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with pub­lic through the NCSS Web site

14. Plan and im­ple­ment af­ter school care pro­grams

15. De­velop and im­ple­ment pro­ce­dures for Char­ter school ap­pli­ca­tion re­view and es­tab­lish­ment 16. Re­zone the school dis­trict Other goals un­der re­view in­clude de­vel­op­ing a plan to de­ter­mine the pos­si­bil­ity of a school se­cu­rity force, re­search­ing the idea of hous­ing theme or mag­net schools within the county, de­vel­op­ing a plan to re­vise the pro­gram at Sharp Learn­ing Cen­ter, study­ing re­vi­sion of the stu­dent badge pro­gram for Sharp stu­dents who ride the bus, re­search­ing es­tab­lish­ing an om­buds­man pro­gram, study­ing pos­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing a grant writer and re­search­ing suc­cess­ful ways to in­crease par­ent in­volve­ment.

For the plan in its en­tirety, to see what de­part­ment is re­spon­si­ble for the each of the ini­tia­tives or the pro­jected time­line for im­ple­men­ta­tion visit www.new­ton­coun­tyschools. org/BOE_S­trate­gic_Plan/NCSS_ Strate­gic_Plan_2007.pdf

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