In unveiling the 2010-2011 Mamaroneck School District goals at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting,
the Administration summarized the re-designed process for developing goals and presented a roadmap for how the District’s multi-year vision for higher student achievement will come alive.
Under the category of Student Learning – identified as the District’s top priority – six goals, accompanying objectives and expected outcomes were outlined and discussed at length focusing on curriculum consistency and rigor, educating the ‘whole child’ and using technology to enhance instruction. The other areas in which District goals were presented include Communications & Community Involvement, Finance and Operations, and Personnel.
”The goals are descriptive, yet specific and focused, coupled with clearly articulated expected results,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Shaps. “At the base is having clearly defined standards for excellence that are research-based, measurable and observable. We must have the highest of expectations at every point in the education continuum.”
In addition to delineating what knowledge and skills students must demonstrate when they exit each grade level, Dr. Shaps says the objectives all revolve around continual assessment of student progress and the use of data to shape instruction. He says the goal-setting process was more inclusive than ever this year, involving extensive back and forth interchanges with administration, all levels of staff and the School Board beginning last June and continuing all the way though this month. “It was a comprehensive process that enabled us to receive input upfront and throughout the process from staff at all levels. Many of the goals are aligned with our long-range planning related to budgetary and programmatic decision-making,” Dr. Shaps said.
Developing a working model for a five-year District financial plan, including establishing a Board Finance Committee, was highlighted as part of the goal to manage short and long-term finances as effectively as possible during these challenging economic times. Keeping the community informed about student achievement data and providing detailed information to community members about the workings of the District (curriculum news, construction projects, budget, tenure, etc.) were among the Communications and Community involvement goals highlighted.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Annie Ward highlighted the district-wide consistency of this year’s objectives. "At the elementary level, all four schools are working towards the same objectives. Where you’ll see some variation is in the action plan that each elementary school employs to accomplish these objectives,” explained Ward.
The six schools’ overarching Teaching and Learning goals mirror those of the District:
* Develop consistent, rigorous curriculum
* Use effective teaching strategies to challenge and engage all learners
* Support the whole child; foster each student’s growth
* Integrate technology to enhance learning
* Continually assess student progress, use data to adjust instruction and review program
* Provide ongoing professional development to strengthen teaching and promote student learning
Both Dr. Shaps and Ms. Ward agree that ‘great teaching matters’ and emphasize the importance of quality teaching. “Studying the latest research, sharing best practices and strategies among teachers, and applying these to the classroom are essential,” Ward said.
Department chairs at both the Hommocks and Mamaroneck High School also presented their detailed objectives, action plans and expected outcomes. Principals at each of the six Mamaroneck schools will immediately begin using faculty meeting times as opportunities to fully integrate the plans into the culture of the school.
—Debbie Manetta is Director of Public Information for the Mamaroneck School District