This election season has brought many questions to our school board candidates about the District. One that keeps popping up is what does “Top 20 by 2020” mean and how do you measure it to determine success or not? Some of you may have heard me say this phrase over the last years. It is my belief that our District has all the right ingredients – dedicated and talented staff members, a supportive community, incredible programs – to be among the top 20 public school districts in the state.
By this, I don’t mean top 20 by test scores alone. A top district in my mind means that we are doing the very best we can and are looked to as a model in all areas that affect our students – academics, athletics, technology, extracurriculars, enrichment opportunities, food services, etc.
When I first discussed this vision, I shared with our Board of Education members what some of the measurements I had in mind to reach this goal were. Here is my list:
- Students accomplish more than a year’s growth in a year’s time
- Technology to be integrated into teaching & learning of every classroom
- Imbedding 21st century skills – collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking – in the K-12 curriculum for successful transition into college and career readiness
- Each student to have an electronic student profile and portfolio prior to graduation
- Each college-bound student to have the requisite skills to move into freshmen level courses with no remediation
- Increase world languages to 70% of student taking a world language
- Increase number of National Merit Finalists, Semifinalists and Commended Scholars by 50%
- Reach the level of 35% of high school students taking Advanced Placement or College Credit Plus courses
- Have 100% of our core academic teachers using Response to Intervention method as a framework
- Have 100% of our teachers be exemplary in the Teacher Based Teams process
- See a reduction of 50% in suspension/expulsions
- Have 100% of students participate in an extracurricular activity
- Operate a charter school program that serves as a model for others
- Operate a state-recognized career-technical district
- Make available state-of-the-art facilities for all students
You may realize after reading the list that many of these bullet items have been accomplished or nearly accomplished: We have accomplished more than a year’s growth for our student on the past seven Report Cards, our West Shore Career-Tech District and Lakewood City Academy charter school are among the best in the state, and by 2017 we will have all new school buildings. We still have much work to do, but I know that these are all reachable goals thanks to our wonderful community of students, teachers, administrators and parents.