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Superintendent sets high goals for D 49

Falcon School District 49 Superintendent Grant Schmidt has established nine performance goals to guide and measure progress as he begins his first school year with the district. The Board of Education approved the goals in July, and Schmidt will provide progress reports at the board meetings.Schmidt said no one goal is more important than any other – “they are all pieces of the whole.” However, he said increasing communication with the community and strengthening student achievement rank are high on the list.Parents will start to see the improvements in student achievement almost immediately as the district performs periodic internal assessments of students, Schmidt said. The assessments of students are used to predict how well the students will perform on the CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) and other standardized tests, Schmidt said.”When I say CSAP, we’re not thinking in terms of just the test, but we’re thinking in terms of the standards,” he said. The assessments allow the district to make course adjustments throughout the year to ensure students are meeting the state standards.Looking towards the long-term goals of propelling the district forward, Schmidt said he hired additional staff in the learning services division to complete a curriculum alignment project. “This entails providing unit maps for staff so they can see natural flow of curriculum as related to the state standards, not only through their school grade but also future years,” Schmidt said. He anticipates the impact of the curriculum alignment to be seen over the next two to three years as staff implements and refines the program. While the CSAP is an important measure, Schmidt said it does not perfectly reflect what is being accomplished in the classroom. “In the education world we understand that there is no way to truly measure intelligence,” he said.The better indicator of student achievement, Schmidt said, is the Colorado Growth Model, released for the first time Aug. 15.The CGM allows parents and teachers to monitor the progress of individual student performance on the CSAP. It will help parents chart their student’s individual improvements from year to year. Schmidt also said the CGM will do a much better job of helping the district analyze how students are performing.In reviewing the CSAP data, Schmidt said the district looks to all ends of the spectrum. “We all want to make sure we avoid having students in the unsatisfactory (category). We also want to do our best to see if we can increase the number of kids that are advanced.”Schmidt said slight fluctuations in scores should not alarm parents. He would only become concerned if the trend continued downward over a three to five year period. “We are not trying to get around the fact that we are aware of where our scores are. We want them to improve still,” he said. “We have a continued desire to see student achievement continue to rise.”Schmidt said improvements at the elementary school level will come first; it will take more time for the middle school and high schools to show visible improvements. He pointed to a variety of special programs at the secondary school level designed to retain student interest and the new schools that create smaller learning environments for students to help them raise their achievement levels.The high level of mobile military families in D 49 also contributes to the difficulty in raising CSAP scores in the higher grades, he said. The middle school and high school students have experienced more moves than a third grader and don’t have as strong of a connection to the learning environment, which impacts performance on standardized assessments.”A third of our students are involved in the military,” Schmidt said. “We continue to strive to focus on the transition of the military families.” The district focuses on the whole child, both social and emotional, which will not show up on the CSAP, but impacts the family, he added.”We are not focusing on excuses; we are focusing on what we can do to create more opportunities for students.”If parents have questions about the CSAP scores or changes in the district, Schmidt said he encourages parents to attend community meetings. “The meetings truly have no agenda; I will respond to absolutely every question that’s out there.”

Increase communication and interaction opportunities with the communityMonthly broadcasts of superintendent and board update, community meetings held at school sites, monthly newsletter, formation of a Teacher Advisory Council and Student Advisory Council
Implement a district branding and marketing planContract with a marketing consultant to develop and implement a marketing plan
Prioritize curriculum items during the 2008-09 school yearReview audit results and prioritize within district departments; address each priority item by June 1, 2009
Accelerate the trend of student achievement at all grade levels as measured by district assessments: CSAP, AP exams and ACTIncrease average ACT score by 0.1 point, increase average SAT score by 10 points, increase graduation rate of students by a minimum of 2.5 percent, increase CSAP score for each grade level by 5 percent, establish measures of student teacher ratios to optimize student achievement
Identify a baseline for a parent and staff satisfaction surveyWork with the District Accountability Committee to create and administer surveys by May 15, 2009
Supervise and assure completion of a five-year facilities master plan for current and future facilitiesShare plan with the Long Range Planning Committee and District Accountability Council, to be completed by June 1, 2009
Develop a program-based budget for 2009-2010 school yearTrain all budget managers, including the board of education by September 2009
Establish, publish and maintain a prioritized system for funding capital expensesPrioritized capital spending list to be posted on district Web site by Jan. 8, 2009
Review and revise district policiesComplete curriculum audit by January 2009; review related policies by department and add or delete policies as needed
* current as of August 27, 2008For updates and more detailed description of the superintendent’s goals, visit and go to School Board meeting packets.

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