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Performance, development, grading studied by school leadership team in 2010-11 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   

Student performance plans, professional development and a grading pilot were the three major topics covered by Holyoke School District Re-1J’s leadership team in 2010-11.

Teacher Angie Powell reported on the leadership team activity at the May 17 school board meeting.

Powell cited the junior high turnaround plan, as well as the performance plans at the high school and elementary school. Specific criteria was addressed in the turnaround plan and the leadership team supported what staff was doing with regard to the performance plans.

Microsoft training was provided for staff by computer teacher Nancy Dee. Powell said the staff also utilized a professional development catalog and calendar.

A grading pilot has been worked on as far back as 2005, reported Powell. The study involves a clear grading practice districtwide.

Powell said they have come up with a pilot for grades 4-6 and grades 7-8 that will be put in place starting this fall.

Survey results shared

Results of the survey distributed at the March parent-teacher conferences were shared by Kimberlee Bennett from the Standards of Excellence committee.

Students and staff also completed the survey. Parent surveys were available in both English and Spanish, and Alternative School parents were surveyed, as well.

The survey has already helped the district put technology as a priority. Additionally, it cited the significance of allowing for a budget line item for programs to help students be more accepting of each other.

Such programs started with bringing in Dr. Birchak (Bird) during the Emerald Awards.

Results of the survey will be used to establish trends and make additional decisions.

At the elementary school, 202 parent surveys were returned. From the JR/SR High, 114 of 164 surveys which were handed out at parent-teacher conferences were returned.

Positive points from the recent survey included:

­—Ninety-four percent agreed or strongly agreed teachers expect high quality work at all levels (elementary, secondary and alternative schools).

—Majority of people said the district is headed in the right direction.

—Parent survey was overall more positive than last year’s results.

Negative points from the survey included:

—Twenty-two percent of students do not feel safe at school.

—Forty percent disagree or strongly disagree that students are accepting of each other. This was seen in the student, parent and teacher surveys.

Highlighting survey items of interest, Bennett pointed out 71 percent of the staff believes the school district is headed in the right direction.

The Alternative School results found 67 percent of parents’ highest level of education was a GED or high school diploma.

Bennett pointed out a few changes will need to be made on next year’s survey, including an N/A answer option to survey questions.

Other business

In other business May 17, the school board:

—heard Supt. Bret Miles acknowledge the gift of 80 plastic banquet tables to be used for meetings in the school. Miles thanked Highline Electric Association, Holyoke Community Federal Credit Union, Grainland Cooperative and PC Telcom for their partnership in purchasing these tables.

—noted budget worksheets were due back from staff May 18. They were given the target of a two percent reduction.

—accepted the resignation of JR/SR High science teacher Jessica Watkins.

—hired Scott Dille and Luke Thomas as JR/SR High summer school personnel.

—allowed Dille’s request for use of the new gym for a basketball camp May 31-June 2.

—approved a food service contract for 2011-12 with Chartwell School Dining Service. Holyoke will partner with both Haxtun and Fleming school districts next year to split management costs over three districts.

—gave a nod of approval for first reading of the accreditation policy.

—granted second-reading approval for the following four policies: graduation requirements, staff concern/complaints/grievances, staff leave and sick leave bank/support leave bank.

Holyoke Enterprise May 26, 2011