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Superintendent's 2017-18 Goals

Gorham School Department

Superintendent’s Annual Goals

2017-18

 

Goal #1 – To Assist the School Committee in Determining the Best K-5 Configuration for Student Achievement and Cost Efficiency

 

Standard #4: Organizational Management. This standard requires the superintendent to gather and analyze data for decision making and for making recommendations to the school committee. It stresses the skills necessary to meet the internal and external customer expectations and to effectively allocate resources.

 

During the course of the 2016-17 School Year, the Gorham Schools once again increased their overall enrollments by just approximately 80 students with the largest increase at the K-5 level. During the 2016-17 School year, a total of three new classrooms were added (2 at GF, and 1 at Narragansett).

 

Projections continue to jump with our overall enrollments now projected to increase from 2, 721 to 2,753 (another increase of 33+ students) for 2017-18, once again with the vast majority of increases at the K-5 level. In the FY 18 budget, we were forced to add another 4 new classrooms in order to keep our class sizes within our existing guidelines. This decision came with a significant price tag that will likely continue to rise unless adjust our existing practices. The School Committee approved of these increases with the idea that a study group would be formed and would more closely study the impacts of our increasing enrollments on our current K-5 configurations.

 

This study group was formed in February of 2017 with the task of studying our existing K-5 elementary configurations in order to identify the strengths and challenges of this configuration and to brainstorm possible ways that the Gorham Schools might reconfigure the elementary schools to better address our increasing school populations in a more efficient manner moving forward. (Please See Study Group Process Outline For More Details)

 

The focus of this goal will be to complete the work of this committee in time to inform our budget development process for FY 19.

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

- Compile results of summer work (draft research, draft comparisons to neighboring and similar districts, and creation of draft staff/parent survey) and prepare for presentation to K-5 Elementary Reconfiguration Committee (ERC) members for review and revision.

 

 

Summer 2017

- Completed Draft survey

- Completed draft research

- Completed draft comparison data

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

- Work with ERC to finalize survey and get out to staff and parents.

Fall, 2017

- Summarized Data from Surveys.

- Work with ERC to compile related student achievement data.

Fall, 2017

- Completed Achievement report.

- Work with ERC to select 4-6 options to consider and compile detailed projections for each in terms of actual student numbers and:

 

·       Educational Benefits/Challenges for each option.

·       Financial +/- for each option

·       Alignment of each option to existing Mission/Vision

 

Fall, 2017

- Completed summary for each option as outlined.

- Make the work of the ERC “transparent” by publishing agenda notes and supporting documents as work progresses.

 

September, 2017

- Link from website created.

- Work with ERC to compile and present final report to the Gorham School Committee

December, 2017 or January, 2018

- Completed Report

- School Committee Agenda

 

 

Goal #2 – To continue to move the Gorham Schools forward in the creation of it’s PBL System of Education for Grades K-12

 

Standard # 6: Instructional Leadership. This standard addresses what it is to be taught; this standard emphasizes the skills required to ensure that the most effective teaching techniques are in place and that all instructional resources are used to maximize student achievement. This standard also requires applying research and best practices with respect to diversity issues.

 

The Gorham Schools have been working to create a Proficiency Based Learning System for several years now, even before the introduction of LD 1422 by the State of Maine. Over the course of this work, we have created K-12 graduation standards, associated Performance indicators, and aligned scoring criteria for all content areas grades K-12. Additionally, we have begun to pilot our new standards-based grading and reporting system called Jumprope in grades K-9. This work will become the foundation on top of which we will continue to build our PBL system.

 

Much work has been accomplished, but much more remains in order to get our PBL system up and fully operational for students across all schools and all grades/content areas.   Now that we have our initial PBL system up and operational for K-12, we need to do a great deal of refinement work, and focus more on training for teachers. We also need to continue to work hard at making sure our students and parents are well informed of our work and what it means to their success.

 

Because of the importance of this work, I will be taking the active lead role in moving our PBL work forward across the district with the help of the Assistant Superintendent. The ultimate goal will be to accomplish enough work that will allow us to have our PBL system in place for the class of 2021 as required by state statute.

 

Below I have outlined the general focus of our work for the coming year, however more details can be found by referring to our PBL Action Plan.

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Provide PBL Aligned PD to all teachers with focus on best instructional and assessment practices in a student-centered (PBL) classroom.

School Year

-       Completed PD plan for 2017-18

-       Results of Teacher surveys regarding effectiveness of PD offerings.

Review and Revise School Committee Policies and related School handbooks as needed to support PBL work.

School Year

-       Inventory of policies, etc. that need to be reviewed.

-       Copies of changes

-       Creation of study committee to review extra & co-curricular handbook for possible revisions.

Engage students and parents in continued learning and awareness of our PBL system.

School Year

-       Revised website

-       New PBL handbook & guide documents

-       3 “focus group” meetings with GMS & GHS students.

-       Blog posts

Complete the new Gorham Strategic Plan

Fall, 2017

-       SC approved Strategic Plan

 

Conduct Parent Trainings on Jumprope for parents of students in grades K-6 and create online resources for parent access to Jumprope.

Fall, 2017

-       Agendas and notes from parent trainings.

-       Completed online resources.

 

Goal #3 – To work with the school committee to address the capital needs of Gorham High School to include the needs of the adjacent athletic fields.

 

Standard #4: Organizational Management. This standard requires the superintendent to gather and analyze data for decision-making and for making recommendations to the school committee. It stresses the skills necessary to meet internal and external customer expectations and to effectively allocate resources.

 

Several years ago the Gorham School Committee worked with PDT architects and a building committee to research and explore the possibility of a high school expansion project for Gorham High School and the adjacent athletic fields. The “Gorham High School Exploratory Committee” was established in 2009 and later morphed into the Gorham High School Building Committee to complete its work in 2013.

 

In 2013 the major areas of deficiency that were identified were as follows:

 

  1. The building was overcrowded and internal educational facilities were deficient, with specific concerns around the location of admin. Offices in terms of safety.
  2. There was a shortage of parking, both during school hours and special events.
  3. Outdoor athletic field shortages and deficiencies were identified.

 

The original high school was built in 1958 with additions added in 1964, 1970’s and 1980’s with the last major renovation being conducted in 1992 (25 years ago). The current building is 138,830 s.f. and was built to accommodate 750 students. Today, there are +/- 850 students enrolled at GHS.

 

It is now 2017 and the needs for Gorham High School have not changed. In fact, we now have an added “stressor” to look at – our increasing enrollments! Our current projections now show that GHS is projected to grow to almost 1,000 students in just 9 years.

 

Because of these changes, the GHS Building Committee was re-established in the fall of 2016 and a new committee was created entitled the “Athletic Capital Campaign Committee”. The goal of these two committees was to “re-launch” this important work. These broad-based stakeholder groups worked tirelessly over the course of the year last year to study our options and to nudge this important work forward. This work resulted in a completed Feasibility study and a joint meeting with the Gorham Town Council that established a clear direction for our future work. It was agreed that our focus should be on conducting a capital project on the existing GHS site with implications of possibly having to move athletic fields off site.

 

We are now ready for the next step in the work – DESIGN, which will hopefully lead us to an approved referendum to move forward in addressing these significant needs for our students. The focus of this goal will be to carry on this important work!

 

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Work with School Committee and Town Council to secure “seed $” to fund architectural and design work needed.

August & September, 2017

- TC vote to approve seed funding.

Conduct an RFP process to secure an architectural and design firm.

August and September, 2017

- Signed contract with selected A&E firm.

Work with the Selected A&E firm as well as the GHS Building Committee, Athletic Capital Campaign Committee, School Committee, and Town Council to complete necessary design work for the project.

Fall, 2017 – Spring, 2018

- Completed design for GHS project.

Work with School Committee and Town Council to prepare for possible referendum in September, 2018

Summer, 2018

- September referendum.

Once initial drawings are complete, work with Athletic Capital Campaign Committee to “re-launch” a capital campaign for the athletic fields portion of the work.

Winter, 2017

- media launch of campaign.

 

 

Goal #4 – To Complete a New Gorham Schools Strategic Plan.

 

Standard 1: Leadership and District Culture. This standard stresses the Superintendent’s performance in leadership through empowering others, visioning, helping shape school culture and climate, and understanding multicultural and ethnic differences.

 

For the past several years the Gorham Schools have been operating without a strong Mission/Vision and a clear Strategic Plan. When I first came to Gorham, I spent the first year working with stakeholders to create a new and up to date Mission/Vision. That work was very successful and helped to build a common direction for our schools, however it was missing the specificity required to help keep us on track in making this new mission/vision a reality. That’s where a Strategic Plan comes in.

 

During the course of the 2016-17 School Year, I worked diligently with a new committee called the Strategic Planning Committee to create a new Strategic Plan for Gorham that would help us to “operationalize” our ultimate mission/vision. This has been extensive and well thought out work, which is still ongoing. As the 2016-17 School year ended, the group had just finished creating draft long-term goals that it sent around for staff and student feedback. This is where my new goal will pick up in the work.

 

The focus of this goal will be to bring this process to its ultimate conclusion with a newly approved strategic plan that can be used as a road map (along with other core documents) to move our district forward in making its Mission/Vision a reality for all our children.

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Complete draft of action steps for each identified long term goal for educational programming.

Summer, 2017

-       Initial draft action steps for educational program portion of document.

 

Complete draft of action steps for each identified long term goal for each program.

Summer, 2017

-       Initial draft action steps for each program (Technology, Facilities, etc.)

 

Compile draft action steps, timelines, etc. and share with School Committee for feedback.

Early September, 2017

-       School Committee agenda and notes

 

Bring draft action steps, timelines, etc. and School Committee feedback to Strategic Planning Committee for Revisions to document.

End of September, 2017

-       Agendas and notes for Strategic Planning Committee

 

Work with Strategic Planning Committee to revise document to create first overall draft strategic plan.

September – October, 2017

-       Completed first draft of Strategic Plan.

 

Conduct feedback loop for students, parents, and School Committee.

Mid-October, 2017

-       Copy of survey instrument used.

 

Work with Strategic Planning Committee to use feedback to make final revisions to draft strategic plan.

End of October, 2017

-       Completed revised Draft of Strategic Plan.

 

Work with Strategic Planning Committee to present final draft strategic plan to School Committee for final revisions and approval.

November, 2017

-       New, final approved Gorham Schools Strategic Plan.

 

 

 

 

Goal #5: To Create Stronger Alignment of Priorities between the Gorham School Committee and the Gorham District Leadership Team.

 

Standard #4: Organizational Management. This standard requires the superintendent to gather and analyze data for decision making and for making recommendations to the school committee. It stresses the skills necessary to meet internal and external customer expectations and to effectively allocate resources.

 

The community of Gorham is growing, as is the population of our schools. With this growing student population comes increased pressures on our financial resources and the need for us to all think differently as we work to meet these increasing demands.

 

Change is needed. Change in terms of mindsets, change in terms of expansion of existing programs or creation of new ones, change in terms of thinking about maximizing efficiencies as costs to educate our increasing student populations increases, and change in terms of how it is that our organization establishes its priorities and makes decisions around those priorities as it “operationalizes” them through our budget development process.

 

The past year’s budget development cycle was somewhat disconnected. In feedback gathered afterwards from stakeholders, School Committee members describe frustration in not having more time to understand and make decisions around what they felt were substantial issues that were being brought to them for the first time in the budget development process. Likewise, in feedback gathered from stakeholders, DLT members describe frustration in not having the support from School Committee members to approve what they felt were well articulated and researched plans for how to address specific problems. As a result, the School Committee felt as though DLT members were “asking for the moon” while DLT members felt that the School Committee was micromanaging the process and not trusting their advice. Of course, neither is true – however it points out the need to improve upon the budget development process in order to better open up lines of communication, to make decisions based upon collaboratively set common areas of priority, and to provide enough time during the budget development process to have more thorough conversations about items deemed important.

 

As financial pressures continue to mount due to increases in student populations it will be imperative to have as open and transparent a process as possible so that we are sure the budget that is approved best meets the needs of our students while balancing (as best as we can) the needs of our taxpayers who support our great schools. Granted, having a newly created Strategic Plan will assist in providing some clear direction, but more is needed to insure our leadership structures continue to work together to create common understandings of K-12 and support programming funding priorities moving forward.

 

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Hire a consultant to work with the School Committee and DLT on building common understandings for areas of priority moving forward.

August, 2017

-       Contract with consultant for services.

 

Plan for and carry out a School Committee and DLT “retreat” before school begins to define current issues and prioritize areas for action.

August, 2017

-       Agenda and notes from August meeting.

 

Plan for and carry out a pre-budget meeting with the SC and DLT, similar to the Dine and Discuss meeting to share needed new initiatives and to discuss together without budget numbers attached to them.

November, 2017

-       Agenda and notes from meeting.

 

Plan to meet at least one more time with SC and DLT to plan next steps to keep momentum moving forward.

December, 2017 or January, 2018

-       Agenda and notes from meeting.

 

Improve SC communications with DLT by adding a section in each week’s “Weekly Update” on what the SC is working on so DLT is more aware.

Throughout 2017-18

-       Copies of weekly updates to DLT.

 

Improve DLT communications with School Committee by adding a section in each month’s superintendent’s report on what the DLT is working on so SC is more aware.

Throughout 2017-18

-       Copies of Superintendent’s Report to SC.

 

Compress the number of budget workshop meetings from what is typically planned (last year was 5 but we wound up with 7) to a total of three by creating a Saturday workshop model. This will allow us to have more consistent time to garner better understandings of complex topics before moving on in the budget development process.

March, 2018

-       Copy of budget development timeline and minutes of meetings.

 

Ensure that we check in with summer priority work each winter to verify priorities are the same and to establish clear targets for the budget season.

December, 2017 or January, 2018

-       Copy of School Committee agenda and/or minutes.

 

 

 

 

Goal #6: To Work to Revive the SEA to Create a “Sebego Management and Leadership Center” as Outlined in Chapter 123 in order to Maximize State Funding for Educational Programs in Gorham.

 

Standard #4: Organizational Management. This standard requires the superintendent to gather and analyze data for decision making and for making recommendations to the school committee. It stresses the skills necessary to meet internal and external customer expectations and to effectively allocate resources.

 

When the State of Maine passed its biennial budget in July of 2017 it came with several stipulations aimed at reducing overall costs in K-12 public education. One specific stipulation dealt with how System administration was funded through the EPS funding formula. Significant changes were made in this area. In the past, each school system received a total of $235.00/pupil through the Essential Programs and Services Funding Model (EPS) to fund system administration. System administration includes all functions related to the operations of the Central Office such as funding for: Accounting, payroll, HR, business management, assistant superintendent and superintendent, etc.

 

The approved Biennial budget changes the funding for System administration by stipulating that in the 2017-18 fiscal year (FY 18), that per pupil amount drops to just $135.00/pupil. Then in the 2018-19 fiscal year (FY 19) the amount increases slightly to $138.00/pupil BUT language requires that of that amount $46.00/pupil must go towards the creation of state approved “Educational Management and Leadership Centers” or be forfeited to the MDOE. Then in the 2019-20 fiscal year (FY 20) the per pupil amount increases once again to $141.00/pupil but now, the requirement is that of that amount, $94.00 must go towards these “Educational Management and Leadership Centers”. For Gorham, the approximate amount for FY 19 that must be used for these centers or “lost” is $128,000.00 and in FY 20 that amount becomes $254,000.00. These are significant funds and funds I would rather NOT “forfeit” back to the State of Maine.

 

The focus of this goal will be to work with the old Sebego Educational Alliance (SEA) Schools to see if we can agree to create a shared “Educational Management and Leadership Center” that meets our needs and allows us to recoup these funds for the benefit of all our students.

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Hold initial meeting with SEA Superintendents to see if others are interested in pursuing this idea.

August, 2017

- Meeting notes

Request “seed money” from MDOE to hire facilitator to help our group planning and data collection process to determine best programs to share across SEA schools.

August, 2017

- Approved funding

Bring in SEA SC Chairs to ensure they are “on board”

September, 2017

- Agenda/Meeting notes.

Conduct a survey of SEA superintendents to see what types of services they might be interested in collaborating on.

August, 2017

- Results of survey

Hire Consultant

September, 2017

- Contract

Collect Data and work with SEA Superintendents & Consultant to create draft plan for shared services.

September, 2017 – December, 2017

- Agendas/notes from meetings.

Gain School Committee preliminary approval.

January, 2018

- Agendas and Meeting notes.

Work with SEA superintendents and consultant to draft new Interlocal Agreement.

January – March, 2018

- Draft agreement

Seek School Committee approval for agreed upon shared services to begin Fall, 2018

April, 2018

- Agendas and Minutes

Hire Executive Director and work with him/her to begin new shared services in fall, 2018.

May/June, 2018

- job posting

 

These six goals will be my priority goals for the 2017-18 School Year.

 

In addition to these priority goals, I also have several other “smaller goals” that are important in the following areas:

 

  1. Educational Program:

 

  • To monitor, assess, and submit periodic updates to the School Committee on the implementation our new planning time at K-5 level.

 

  • To monitor and assess implementation of Elem. & Middle School Jumprope use in order to inform future decision-making.

 

  • To reconfigure special education and create a new single program of student support services in order to more efficiently manage increasing programmatic and human capacity pressures upon these programs.

 

 

  1. Personnel

 

  • To conduct successful negotiations work with MBCC, SAA, and Admin. Team.

 

  • To continue to monitor and assess effectiveness of the overall implementation of our new PE/PG systems across the district.

 

 

  • Facilities/Maintenance and Transportation

 

  • To continue to work with the Facilities/Transportation Director to reduce overtime expenditures.

 

  1. Community

 

  • To continue to be a visible leader by getting out into the school buildings at least once per week, by participating in community projects and activities outside of school, and by attending various community and school sponsored events.

 

  • Continue to work to improve both internal and external communication.

 

 

All of this in addition to my “normal” duties of conducting monthly School Committee meetings and workshops, monthly leadership team meetings, overseeing a 38 million dollar budget, 2,700 + students, 370+ staff, working to increase collaborations within the community, and much, much more!

 

I look forward to another GREAT YEAR here within the Gorham Schools!