Special to the Mirror by Paul Grossman. Mr. Grossman has been following the progress of the School Board for the past several months, and has submitted this analysis.
I have found some issues with the posted SB’s 5 Year Comprehensive Plan that need to be addressed as soon as practical:
1. The version presented at the July 23rd meeting for public comment, as attached to the agenda, was not the same version approved by the board at the January 26th meeting. For example, review the attendance table for both years 2015 and 2016 and note the differences. I did not check these documents further for differences. The January approved version should be used unless the SB has reviewed and approved changes since that time.
2. This approved document (2016-2021) should be added to the ncpsk12 website under board docs. Currently versions 2011-2017 and 2015-2021 are shown. It would be beneficial for the public to have easy access without having to search through meeting minutes. I would also suggest that these be listed under ‘Library/Strategic Goals’ rather than under ‘Library/General/ Comprehensive Plans’ for easier location by people. Or delete Strategic Goals from the pull down menu and leave it under General.
- A comprehensive plan committee was involved with development of this document but I don’t know if there is any plan on pulling these people together for an update. Or does the superintendent plan on updating the document and presenting results to the board on a periodic basis? I am unclear on future committee participation. This document should be considered ‘living’ and reviewed and updated periodically. Suggest quarterly.
- I do not have the requisite background to know that by completion of the assigned tasks, that the overall goal will be accomplished. So I offer no comments on that.
- It has been 7 months since the document was first formally issued, yet there is no progress noted in the table for each started activity. Since some of the dates indicate that work on certain activities have already begun, I cannot tell for sure since no progress is recorded in the tables.
- There are no target completion dates for any activity. Therefore, the owner of the activity has no accountability for progressing towards some finish date.
- Core Values: “Effective teachers are essential to student success.” Over the past few months, I have listened to your discussions on teacher retention being a huge problem in each of the schools, yet I find no documented plan or set of activities addressing this issue. That is an example as to why this document has to be kept current.
- Forecast of Enrollment: actual data for years 2015 and 2016 should now be used. That is an example as to why this document has to be kept current. Do the forecasts for downstream years need to be now adjusted?
- Goals and Objectives table – each strategy or task needs to meet the SMART criteria (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound). None of the tasks listed meet all of these criterion.
- “Use student performance data to make decisions about instruction, attendance, enrichment and interventions” – an example of not being specific enough to reach a conclusion to the task.
- Start dates should show (A) for actual start and (T) for target start. Otherwise the board has no way of holding people accountable for starting.
- Completion dates should also have target and actuals reflected. Otherwise the board has no way of holding people accountable for completing tasks on time.
- Evidence should be the measurable piece of evidence that concludes the task. A monitoring phase can follow, but the task has to be declared finished before monitoring for effectiveness begins.
- Progress Notes – since I consider this a living document, progress needs to be recorded. The board needs to hold people accountable for finishing. Otherwise, all tasks are open ended.
- Board assigned goals such as “Explore options to expand course offerings ins the area of Art, contingent upon available funds” – did the board set aside funding during budgeting to address this? I see the board has two other assigned tasks; were these addressed and if not, who in particular owns them. Right now, I would hold the SB chair accountable until further assigned.
- To make this a truly accountable document, has each task been tied to the assigned owners annual performance goals and objectives.
Again, please use my comments above in the next revision of this document. I look forward to an update. Given the importance of this plan, I am hoping that this document receives the attention needed, not only with school administrative staff, but also parents and teachers within the county.