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Superintendent's 2018-19 Goals

Gorham School Department

Superintendent’s Annual Goals

2018-19

 


Goal #1 – To assist the School Committee in creating a long-term facility and grade configuration vision for grades K-5 that will provide the optimal learning environments for students in a cost-efficient way.


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 to effectively allocate resources.

 

During the course of the 2017-18 School Year, the Gorham Schools once again increased their overall K-5 enrollments by approximately 20 students.  This is an increase of almost 100 students at the K-5 level in just two years.

 

Projections conducted by NESDEC have us jumping to 1318 students in 2018-19 and then continuing to grow to as much as 1488 students by 2022-2023.  If this occurs, that would be an increase of 352 students in grades K-5 since my first year as superintendent in Gorham (2015-16).

 

A study group was formed during the winter of 2017 to try and suggest possible new grade configurations at our K-5 schools that might help us to address our growing populations in a more cost-effective manner while not jeopardizing the quality instructional programs currently offered to our students.  This committee worked through the spring, summer, and Fall of 2017 and presented its recommendations to the School Committee in November of 2017. At that time it became clear to the School Committee that in order to make long-term decisions regarding configurations, they needed to look more closely at our facilities and develop a long-term vision for what we want our K-5 schools to look like and operate like before making any decisions for short-term changes that might impact this longer-term vision.

 

The focus of this goal is to work with the School Committee to accomplish this task.  To create a long-term vision for our K-5 schools and to use that vision to inform possible changes that would impact the FY 20 budget and the 2019-20 School Year.

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Work with NESDEC to complete Long Range School Facilities Master Plan Report

Summer & early Fall, 2018

Completed Report.

Meet with Norm, Hollis, and Chris to plot out possible changes to attendance zones that may be required based upon possible outcomes of long-term vision process.

Summer, 2018

Notes from meetings, and development of a clear set of recommended options for attendance zone changes w/implications.

Work with NESDEC to present results of school facilities master plan process.

September, 2018

Workshop Meeting agenda/notes.

Work with School Committee to review key information to be used to inform decision-making processes:

  • Demographic study
  • Original Report from Study Group
  • Attendance zone information
  • Long Range financial forecasting document
  • Draft Facilities Master Plan

September/Oct., 2018

Workshop Meeting Agenda/Notes.

Work with School Committee to develop draft long-range vision for K-5 facilities and configurations

October/Nov., 2018

Workshop Meeting Agendas/Notes.

Work with School Committee to host public forum for parents to share draft long-range vision and implications and to gather/collect feedback.

November, 2018

Agendas/Notes

Work with School Committee to adopt a final long-range vision for K-5 facilities and configuration with implications for possible changes to impact FY 20 clearly articulated within the plan

December, 2018

Agendas/Notes & Approved vision document.




Goal #2 – To work with the School Committee to address the capital needs of Gorham High School and the associated 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 2018 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”.  These two committees have worked to complete a feasibility study, to assist in hiring an architectural firm to work with us on design process, and have been meeting together over the course of the past year to work on development of programming needs documents, projected square footage documents, organizational documents, etc. and are now poised to start looking at specific design options for the capital project. The current target is for a June, 2019 referendum.  There is much work to do to prepare!

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Work with Harriman and Joint Building Committee and Athletic Capital Campaign Committee (ACC) to refine building/site options

August/Sept., 2018

Agendas/Notes from meetings

Work with Harriman and Joint BC and ACC committees to develop final design

October - December, 2018

Agendas/Notes from meetings and final design documents.

Work with ACC to prepare to launch Capital Campaign for Athletic Fields

Fall, 2018

Agendas/Notes from meetings

Work with Harriman and Joint BC and ACC committees to develop cost estimates

Fall & Winter, 2019

Agendas/Notes from meetings and final cost estimates.

Work with ACC to do a “soft” re-launch of the Capital Campaign for Athletic Fields.

January, 2019

Agendas/Notes from meetings

Work with Harriman and Joint BC and ACC committees to gain approval of final design and estimate.

January, 2019 (BC) and February, 2019 (SC)

Agendas/Notes from meetings

Work with Harriman, SC, and Town Council to gain approval from TC to place item on June Referendum

March, 2019

Agendas/Notes from meetings.   Vote from TC to approve referendum.

Work with Harriman and Thought Exchange to conduct public hearings and surveys to gather final feedback on design and estimates

October, 2018, January, 2019 and May, 2019.

Flyers and announcements for forums, and survey results.

Work with ACC to do a “hard launch” for Capital Campaign for Athletic Fields.

April, 2019

Flyers, mailings, agendas/notes of meetings.

Work with Harriman, BC and ACC committees as well as with SC and Town Council to promote the project.

May, 2019

Website, Blog Posts, FB and Twitter posts as well as articles in local papers & letters sent home to parents.

Project Referendum Vote

June, 2019

Vote Results.

 


Goal #3 – To Continue to move the Gorham Schools forward in the creation of its 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-8. 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 such as: Teacher training and calibration efforts on assessment and grading practices, bringing students into the forefront of the conversation, communicating more effectively with all stakeholders, finding ways to “weight” skills for life more effectively, and dealing with other issues regarding student motivation such as ensuring all students access to achieving a “4” and what to do regarding missing or incomplete work, and “re-dos”.  

 

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 and K-8 Instructional Leader.   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 assessment practices and SEL in a student centered (PBL) classroom.

Throughout 2018-19 Year.

PD plan & staff surveys

Finalize a revised GSD Graduation policy that aligns to PBL practices

Winter, 2019

SC Agenda/Notes

Strengthen the “weight” or “strength” associated with Skills for Life (SFL) standards in order to make clear that homework and other formative assessments DO COUNT heavily in our PBL system.

Summer, Fall, and winter 2018-19.

Creation of Clear “Grading Guide” for staff, students and parents.

Work to improve consistency of grading and reporting practices used by teachers across grades K-12.

Throughout 2018-19 Year.

Creation of Clear “Grading Guide” for staff, students and parents.

Create clear expectations for K-12 staff about how to talk with students about PBL, what core components mean and how they work.

Summer/Fall, 2018

Completed “Talking Points” document.

Update existing articulation agreement with WRVC for issuance of credit for courses taken at WRVC.

Spring, 2019

Updated articulation agreement.

Engage students and parents in learning about PBL, and providing feedback to inform future practices.

Throughout 2018-19 Year.

Flyers, meeting agendas, notes, web posts, social media posts, blog posts, Notes from student meetings, staff meetings, and parent meetings.




Goal #4 – To work with the School Committee and District Leadership Team to develop a detailed implementation plan for the expansion of our world languages program across grades K-12 over time.


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 School Committee has discussed the need to expand our world languages program from our current practices (where students have limited exposure in grades 7&8 to two world languages and then are able to dive deeply into four different languages in grades 9-12).  A World Languages Committee worked closely with Assistant Superintendent Record last year to update and revise our “K-12 World Languages Vision” for the Gorham Schools which was presented to the Gorham School Committee last spring. The vision outlines clearly why it is important for students to engage in learning world languages earlier in their educational experiences and describes three options for working to expand our world language curriculum to our lower grades more effectively.

 

The point of this goal is to put together an implementation plan for each option, to work with the School Committee to provide direction as to which option is preferred, and begin to take action to implement changes to strengthen our World Languages programs across all schools.

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Create ad hoc committee of School Committee to work on creating of implementation plans for each of the options outlined by the K-12 World Languages Visioning Committee.  Stakeholders will include:

  • 2 SC members
  • Superintendent
  • 1 WL teacher from 6-8
  • 1 WL teacher form 9-12
  • K-8 Instructional Leader

September, 2018

Membership list, and first meeting agenda/notes.

Work with WL Ad Hoc Committee to develop detailed implementation plans for each option (3).

September, 2018 - Early November, 2018

Meeting agendas/notes.

WL Ad Hoc Committee presents implementation plans to SC

November/Dec., 2018

SC agenda

SC reviews implementation plans and selects one as their preferred direction (with revisions as needed made by SC members).

January, 2019

SC workshop agendas and meeting minutes.

SC incorporates implementation plan needs for into FY 20 & Future Budget Development Processes

February - April, 2019

FY 20 Budget




Goal #5 – To Successfully Implement all first year goals associated with the “Aspire Gorham” Project being conducted in collaboration with JMG and MELMAC.


Standard 3:  Communications and Community Relations.  This standard emphasizes the skills necessary to establish effective two-way communications not only with students, staff, and parents, but the community as a whole including beneficial relationships with the media.  It also stresses responding to community feedback and building community support for the district.

 

The Gorham School Department has entered into a collaboration with JMG and MELMAC entitled “Aspire Gorham”.  This program was developed over the course of the 2017-18 school year and is now ready for implementation beginning in the fall of 2018.  The work of this initiative is focused around meeting THREE of our Strategic Planning goals:

 

  1. By 2021 ALL Gorham students will consistently experience applied real-world learning both inside and outside the classroom.
  2. By 2021 the Gorham Schools will strengthen already existing and create new community partnerships with area businesses, postsecondary institutions, nonprofit organizations, and the Town.
  3. By 2021 the Gorham Schools will utilize a comprehensive system of communication to better engage students, staff, families and community.

 

The project itself has three main strategies to achieve these strategic planning goals:

 

  1. Increase and encourage career aspirations for ALL students, with particular attention to students who are economically disadvantaged, have limited English proficiency, and those with identified disabilities.
  2. Deepen and strengthen connections with business and nonprofit communities to increase student access to and participation in real-world learning experiences at all grade levels.
  3. Deepend and strengthen connections with the University of Southern Maine to increase student access to and participation in college-level learning experiences.

 

This initiative is planned to be at least a three year initiative with many complex moving parts.  In order to achieve the goals outlined above, the major action steps for the coming year will be:

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Create an “Aspire Gorham” community action team.  10-12 members comprised of the following stakeholders:

  • Superintendent
  • A. Superintendent
  • Principals (3)
  • Special Ed. Director or Asst. Director
  • Business Roundtable members (2)
  • Early Childhood Providers (2)
  • USM representative
  • JMG representative (2)

Summer, 2018

Final Membership List

Hire a Community and Career Coordinator whose first major focus will be to increase real-world learning experiences for students through field experiences, internships, apprenticeships and more while developing new and strengthening already existing relationships with Gorham Businesses.

Summer, 2018

Job Description

Begin meeting with Aspire Gorham community action team to map out specific goals and timelines for the work over the next 3 years.

September, 2018 and monthly thereafter through completion of grant.

Meeting agendas and notes.

Meet with USM and GHS to nail down specific agreements for increased dual enrollment courses and early college experiences for GHS students.

Summer/Fall, 2018 with goal of beginning specific coursework in spring semester, 2019

Meeting agendas and notes.  End result = written agreement.

Meet with USM to develop a subcommittee charged with development of specific joint PD efforts between USM and GHS faculty to strengthen dual enrollment programs and our joint assessment and curriculum.

Meetings during 2018-19 school year with PD beginning in Summer, 2019

Meeting agendas and notes and Agenda for joint PD.

Research and purchase/develop math assessment to be used at GHS to identify students who need remedial math courses in order to be prepared to enter postsecondary.

Fall, 2019 with intent to begin use in 2019-20 school year.

Math assessment prepared and ready to implement.

Research and purchase/develop new data tracking system to track Career and College Ready Framework data

Research in Fall/Winter, 2018.  Purchase in Spring, 2019 w/training over the summer of 2019 and implementation planned for Fall, 2019

New software system in place.

Provide PD to GHS staff on Career and College Ready Framework in preparation for implementation in 2019-20 school year.

Spring/Summer, 2019

Agendas and meeting notes.

Connect early learners to career and college aspirations through creation of a K-12 “Future Story” project.

Planning Fall, 2018 and implementation in Spring, 2019

“Future Story” programs in each of our 3 elementary schools using GHS mentors.




Goal #6:  To develop and begin to implement a new protocol for GMS and GHS to focus on reducing the number of chronically absent students.


Standard 2:  Policy and Governance.  Working with the School Committee and DLT to formulate internal and external district policy, defining mutual expectations of performance with the school committee and demonstrating good school governance to staff, students and the community at large.  

 

Our K-5 schools have been working on the issue of reducing the numbers of students that are chronically absent at their schools each year for the past 4 years through a collaboration with a group called “Count Me In”.    Chronic absenteeism is defined as a student that misses 10% or more of their school time in any given year for any purpose. For Maine this works out to be approximately 17 days.

 

As a result of our K-5 school’s focus on the issue of chronic absenteeism, our elementary schools have seen significant reductions in the number of students who are reported as being chronically absent and have seen improvements in social/emotional learning, reductions in behavior incidences, and improved communication and relationships with students and families as a direct result of their work.

 

As an additional “incentive” Maine’s ESSA grant program now uses chronic absenteeism as the first major filter when determining which schools are in need of most assistance.  By keeping our chronic absenteeism rates low, we can better position our schools to remain off these lists.

 

It is common sense really – a student must be in school in order to learn.  If a student is in need of support by the school, they need to be in school to receive that support.  It makes sense, therefore that our schools work closely with our families to make sure all students have access to the high-quality programs we offer, and can feel successful as learners – that is our mission after all – to “Prepare and Inspire” ALL students!  Our K-5 schools have developed some incredibly effective protocols on this issue and it is now time that we use these “lessons learned” to move our focus up to grades 6-12.

 

Planned Action Steps

Draft Timeline

Anticipated “Deliverables” and/or evidence

Ask K-5 Principals to share their protocols with 6-12 Principals during summer leadership retreat.

Summer, 2018

Meeting agenda and notes

Appoint a new attendance coordinator for the Gorham School Department who will work with principals and admin. Assistants to oversee data collection processes.

Summer/Fall, 2018

Appointment made.

Work with 6-12 principals to create clear expectations and outcomes for the work which will include:

  • Creation of protocols/processes to be used to flag students after so many days of being absent.
  • Creation of protocols/processes to be used to communicate proactively with students and families who are in danger of becoming chronically absent.
  • Creation of protocols/processes to be used to incentivize school attendance
  • Creation of protocols/processes to be used to track communications with families.
  • Creation of protocols/processes to track student data
  • Creation of specific goals for reductions of chronically absent students based on establishment of current baselines.
  • Creation of plan for implementation of these new processes by January, 2019

Fall, 2018 – Early Winter, 2019

Meeting agendas and notes and creation of plan for how to proceed.

Require reporting out of chronically absent data by K-12 leadership during annual data retreat.

Spring, 2019

Agenda and notes from leadership data retreat.

Reflect on data and progress and suggest revisions to protocols for 2019-20 year based on results.

Spring/Summer, 2019

Agenda and notes from end of year DLT retreat.

 

These 6 goals will be my priority goals for the 2018-19 School Year.

 

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

 

  • Educational Program:

 

  • To follow work outlined in strategic plan regarding growth mindset, and social-emotional learning.

 

  • To follow work outlined in strategic plan to increase field experiences for students in grades K-12.

 

  • To plan and implement recommendations of the “School Day” Committee regarding the extension of the K-5 school day by approximately 10 minutes.

 

  • To monitor and assess implementation of Jumprope at K-7 levels.

 

  • To work with Special Education Director and neighboring school systems to research how we may take on CDS services for students ages 3-5.

 

  • Personnel:

 

  • To conduct successful negotiations work with GTA

 

  • To revise and update hiring processes and procedures to align with new digital hiring process.

 

  • To complete negotiations with MBCC.

 

  • To revise evaluation protocols for Educational Technicians across all schools and programs.

 

  • To continue to work with DLT and SC to maintain common goals, direction, and positive working relationships.

 

  • Facilities/Maintenance and Transportation:

 

  • To continue to work with facilities/transportation director to monitor use of overtime.

 

  • To work with Transportation director to increase pool of qualified CDL drivers and to increase the # of buses in our fleet, and corresponding infrastructure needs such as an expansion of our propane tanks to account for additional buses.

 

  • School Nutrition Program:

 

  • To work with SNP Director and others to support and expand “backpack” program.

 

  • To work with SNP director to increase % of students both qualifying for free/reduced lunch and participating in free/reduced lunch programs across all schools.

 

  • Finance:

 

  • To create a long-term fiscal outlook document that can be used to assist the School Committee and Town Council in planning for and meeting the anticipated financial needs of the district over the course of the next 5-7 years.

 

  • 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, monthly leadership team meetings, overseeing a 38+ million dollar budget, 2700 + students, 350+ staff, working to increase collaborations within the community, and much, much more!

 

I LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER GREAT YEAR IN THE GORHAM SCHOOLS! THANK YOU!