Board and committee goals – 2006

Johnny Winston, Jr. provided a summary of the board’s June 19th discussion of board and committee goals.
I found two of the board’s priorities particularly noteworthy.
One priority under Performance and Achievement reads:

Math and Literacy and Curriculum
• Review the appropriateness of the goal of completion of algebra and geometry in high school in view of test scores in math (and sub categories) at 4th and 10th grades
• Develop specific, measurable goals regarding the district’s strategic priorities: “offering challenging, diverse and contemporary curriculum and instruction”
– Include input from community
• Initiate public discussion and dissemination of MMSD information that explains:
– What curriculum is used and why
– Evidence base for choosing curriculum and teaching methodologies
– Evaluation of student outcomes associated with changes/use of specific curriculum/methodologies
• Curricular review with input from parents and K-12 post secondary educators and employers
• Cost effectiveness of reading recovery
• Math curriculum
• Review math and reading curriculum to assess impact on high school

The summary also includes the following priorities for the budget process:

• Board—Year long budget process to establish benchmarks for data, standards terms resulting in strategic plan for fiscal resource management
• Budget process that protects school and in school services first
• Review budget timeline and process
• Monthly budget reports
• Development of a budget process that is
1. continual
2. customer friendly
3. incorporates a 2 way communication mechanism so community input is solicited in the process and results are communicated back out to the community
• Budget timeline
• Budget document
• Review and revise if necessary the board’s oversight of fund balances per recommendations from the Department of Public Instruction as follows:
1. As part of the budget process, the board must determine fund balance amounts to be retained for working cash needs and amounts to be used to fund expenditures of the next fiscal period.
2. The board must make a policy decision as to the extent that they will borrow for cash flow rather than maintain a working cash balance
3. More information available at
• Cut cell phone use to save $$

4 thoughts on “Board and committee goals – 2006”

  1. While encouraged that the board set goals for itself and its committees, I’m troubled by this section of the goals under math and literacy curriculum:
    “Initiate public discussion and dissemination of MMSD information that explains:
    – What curriculum is used and why
    – Evidence base for choosing curriculum and teaching methodologies
    – Evaluation of student outcomes associated with changes/use of specific curriculum/methodologies”
    The langauge simply means that the MMSD administrators plan to tell the public that the current curriculum works well and the administration has no intentions of making changes, all at the same time that parents know from what their kids bring home that the district continues to reduce the curriculum to mediocrity or worse.

  2. That glass is always half empty I guess. I prefer to see this for what the statement says: we’ll finally get to see the evidence that the decisions are based on and, with said evidence, can finally have the discussion about whether or not the curriculum works and, more importantly: we can evaluate their “evidence”.
    I think the Board is doing exactly what so many of us have asked them to do for so many years.

  3. I’m delighted to have math and reading on the board’s agenda. This may be a first, so the current board deserves praise for getting this far.
    However, we’ve seen the evidence, David, and it isn’t pretty.
    For example, Reading Recovery succeeds less than 60% of the time, but the superintendent says:
    “Would we walk away from a program that is enabling 50% of our children who are not successful in reading to be successful? No, we wouldn’t. That would be crazy.”
    We’ve also seen new stories of teachers praising Read 180 as successful for older non-readers, and then we’ve seen the board and administration not put a single penny toward expanding it.
    Now we need leadership from the board to make curriculum decisions, because the superintendent and administration do not use their own evidence to make improvements.

  4. Many schools now take advantage of electronic assessments that go far beyond what the state DPI administers,with assessment results that can be used almost immediately–rather than 6-8 months after the fact. I would like to see MMSD use independent assessments of any program that is being funded as heavily as Reading Recovery or Read 180 to determine both short and long-term impacts of those programs. While initial improvements have been noted for some programs, long-term improvements have been difficult to measure for both programs mentioned so often in discussions about Reading/Literacy in MMSD. One of the results of NCLB has been the improvements in electronic assessments that had previously taken large chunks of time–both to administer and to get results. As districts across the country are finding, better decision-making about how to improve learning can be made, and the lag time to make those changes can be shortened by nearly a school year. There are a multitude of steps that will need to be taken to improve student learning, especially with the students who currently are falling below proficiency levels as measured by the once-a-year state assessments. We need to be better at using our resources than we have been, as the resources become harder to find every year…

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