At its September 3 monthly meeting, the CSD 13 school board discussed various types of goal-setting, including focus for the board itself, personnel goals for Superintendent Mark Jenkins and goals for the district schools as a whole.
On the agenda was an action item to adopt district goals—presented to the board by Jenkins—for the coming year.
Board member Linda Nelson said she considered the goals on the list to be less district goals and more goals for the board. “I would think our district goals are the same as the goals in the strategic plan,” said Nelson. “These are more goals to focus on as a board.”
The board adopted a strategic plan in August, 4-1 (Vaughn). Jenkins said in a follow-up interview the plan would be reviewed on a regular basis. The strategic plan lays out five key areas for improvement and guidance for the school system, and had been in the works since 2011.
At the September 3 meeting, board member Andy Vaughn said he saw very few action steps in the strategic plan, and no action steps in the list of goals before the board.
“I’d like to encourage us to take an active role,” said Vaughn. “Not just more planning and not setting more goals.” Vaughn continued, saying he sees the board as “kicking the can down the road” and being good at “discussion and planning.”
Vaughn also criticized the strategic plan as not having tangible action steps, and said he voted against the document in August for that reason. Vaughn also criticized the superintendent for the lack of action steps in the plan.
“We’d heard since January there would be action steps,” said Vaughn. “And you seemed to be finding other reasons to blame others for not having [action steps].”
School board member Stephen York cited MRSA §405(6)(a), which states that personnel issues must be discussed in executive session.
“I strongly object to going into executive session material [during] public session,” said York.
Vaughn said the agenda item in question was district goals, and that he agreed the list before the board was more in line with school board goals. He recommended amending the agenda item.
After further discussion, the board decided to table the goals until October 5-1 (Vaughn).
In other business, Owen Logue, the new special services director, introduced himself to the board and to those present. He talked about his plan to review all files and prepare them for a state audit this fall. Logue also touched upon his desire to connect with students and parents.
“Some families may have lost a lot of hope,” said Logue, referring to the past several months when the district did not have a special services director. Josh Nichols, the previous director, was placed on paid leave in February and Logue was not hired until August. “I want to make sure they know I’m here for them,” Logue said. (See interview with Logue on page 5 of this issue).
High school principal Todd West shared SAT results from last year’s seniors.
Overall, the results show an improvement in math. Forty-nine percent of DISHS test-takers were proficient or better in math, a percentage point over the state average.
West explained that analysis of the SAT scores and the Northwest Evaluation Association exam show that students who are substantially below proficiency in reading are improving. As a whole, however, the students who are partially proficient according to the SAT test are not moving from partially proficient to proficient.
“This shows we’re making progress with the students who are furthest behind,” explained West, who said more efforts need to be focused on moving the group of students who are partially proficient into proficiency.
In science, there was a substantial dip in performance last year on the SATs. West attributes this to staffing turnover and problems within the science department at the school. He expects a new hire and more staffing stability will address that problem this year.
In writing, there is no clear trend of improvement over the course of the past six or seven years. Each year, with a bit of up and down, approximately one-third of students are considered proficient as writers. West said the teaching staff is considering ways to change course in an attempt to increase writing proficiency.
Deer Isle-Stonington CSD School Board
Next meeting: Tuesday, October 1, 5:30 p.m., DISHS Cafeteria