District sets goals for next year, beyond
WORTHINGTON -- "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there? This riddle-like rhetorical question is often used to dramatize the need for people, programs, or organizations to have a vision or set of goals to direct...
WORTHINGTON -- "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there? This riddle-like rhetorical question is often used to dramatize the need for people, programs, or organizations to have a vision or set of goals to direct their daily activities in ways that will ultimately lead to the fulfillment of their desired outcomes.
Families go through these processes all of the time, whether it be something short term as planning an annual vacation or a goal with a longer time horizon such as obtaining a college education for their children or securing the parents' own retirement. By establishing such goals, families are able to make decisions and commit themselves to certain behaviors that will ensure that these goals are met. Without these clearly articulated intentions, the families could fritter away their available resources on other more passing fancies, causing them to fall short of reaching their ultimate dreams.
These same principles can be applied to the operation of an institution as complex as the school district. As with most families, the school district's resources are also limited and finite, whether it be the available revenue to support programs or the discretionary time of staff to implement them. This is more true today than ever before with the added challenges of declining enrollments, huge state deficits, national educational standards and significant disparities between the achievement levels of different students. Given these factors, the district must be strategic in how we commit our available energies and resources.
With this in mind, the school board recently adopted a set of four goals that will be used to guide the operations of the overall district as well as the individual schools and programs. These standards were established after a comprehensive review of district needs as documented by student/family demographics and testing results. Anecdotal data from teachers and other staff also helped to inform this decision.
For the next school year, the district will dedicate itself to achieving the following goals:
l Establish the organizational structure that will effectively manage the district's available resources and will provide the optimal leadership to reach goal attainment.
l Develop standards-based curriculum that is aligned vertically and horizontally and that is supported by technology, assessment, staff development and other district resources.
l Provide the educational programming necessary to ensure that students with unique learning needs will achieve at the highest possible levels.
l Establish collaborative relationships with all stakeholders to achieve intended educational outcomes.
We now begin the second phase of this goal-setting process. The intent of these more broadly-stated goals is to simply point the district in the right direction. Now it is up to us as staff members to determine how we can best support these goals at the building level. We will be establishing annual objectives to serve as graduated benchmarks in order to ensure that we will ultimately reach these longer term goals. These mileposts will be specific and measurable to keep the district on track and to assist the board and staff in assessing our goal attainment progress.
Despite the rhetorical nature of the article's opening question, we can say confidently: we know where we're going and we intend to get there by creating a "roadmap" of intentional strategies.
Jerry Fiola is District 518's director of community education.