School representatives address Balanced Score Card goals
By Kathryn Schiliro
Goals involving the school system's Balanced Score Card (BSC)–a system put into place that addresses five catergories: Student Performance and Achievement; Learning and Growth; Student, Parent and Community Involvement; Safe and Caring Learning Environment; and Internal Processes–was addressed by representatives of Morgan Primary, Elementary, Middle and High schools at the school board's meeting Sept. 10.
The primary school fared well as far as student performance and student disciplinary referrals, but needs work in the areas of professional learning–admittedly, funding for professional learning has decreased, according to the MCPS report–and community involvement. The school is looking for male readers for its RISE program–a weekly initiative where men come in on Fridays and read to a classroom of students.
The elementary school met two-thirds of the goals they set through the BSC initiative. The school representative reported being pleased with academic goals and shared that the fourth grade showed the most room for improvement in test scores.
The middle school didn't quite meet its prescribed goals in most areas, but, unlike the primary school, did meet all its professional learning goals. Principal Lydia Norburg shared that one-third of student performance targets were met and English-Language Arts and writing tended to be "areas of strength."
"We have to be sure we focus on measurable outcomes," Norburg said, indicating that some of the school's BSC might be revised to align with the strategic plan.
The high school will focus on attendance, behavior and curriculum this year, Principal Jim Malanowski told the school board.
Attendance-wise the goal is to reduce the number of students missing 10 or more days.
As far as curriculum, MCHS will focus on differentation the first semester and Common Core standards–a revamp of curriculum required by the state Department of Education (DOE) that will bring Georgia in line with the majority of the country–the second semester.
Academically, Malanowski said two areas of concern in regard to standardized testing were students with disabilities and African-Americans. The school will also focus on their Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) scores.
"We're trying to individualize [instruction] for all students," Malanowski said. "We're not trying to influence scores for any particular group but for all students."
The school board will hear reports from each of the schools monthly.
In other news:
• The school board unanimously approved Assistant Superintendent Debra White's lists of courses that require no textbooks and courses that require class sets of textbooks. In total, 38 classes across all four schools don't require textbooks–most of those are classes involving arts and humanities, and physical education or health–and 31 classes system-wide only require class sets of textbooks.
In related news, the board unanimously approved the Music Appreciation course textbook requested by Jeffrey Rowser, band director at the high school.
• Bennett shared with the board a change to the system's policy regarding drug testing for student-athletes–the word "monthly" will be stricken from the policy as the high school sometimes tests twice a month. The Morgan County Sheriff's Office foots most of the bill for this service, Bennett said, and the system picks up any extra.
• The board voted unanimously to approve a policy change to their closed session policy for public comment. The change–to "bring it (the policy) into alignment with state standards," Bennett said–involves the board chairman completing an affidavit highlighting the general reason as to why the board went into closed session; those reasons must basically be related to real estate, legal or personnel issues, or include personal information about students, including tribunal appeals.
• There are 3,335 students enrolled in county schools as of Sept. 7. Since Aug. 10, there were 38 comings and goings from the school system, the net total being an additional 10 students, Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach told the board.
• The school board unanimously approved the personnel list which included: the resignation of two employees from the high school–a paraprofessional and secretary–and one from the primary school–a paraprofessional–and the recommendation of three employees–one paraprofessional for the primary school and two transportation employees.
Printed in the September 20, 2012 edition