2009-06-11 / News

School Committee approves five-year strategic plan

By Eileen M. Daly

After four months of committee planning, the Jamestown School Committee approved a five-year strategic plan at its June 4 meeting.

Superintendent Marcia Lukon presented the plan, which she said was ambitious, but workable.

The plan was developed by a 22-member committee that will meet annually to review the plan’s progress and make revisions as needed.

The plan consists of four major goals that are integrated with the Rhode Island Department of Education Strategies.

RIDE has identified seven strategies as central components to be addressed in the strategic plan. These strategies include: lead the focus on learning and achievement, guide the selection and implementation of curriculum, instruction and assessment, recruit, support and retain highly effective staff, engage families and the community, provide safe and supportive environments for students and staff, ensure equity and adequacy of fiscal and human resources, and use information for planning and accountability.

The strategic plan presented Thursday identified four major goals, with accompanying objectives, to be addressed by specific action steps. The goals presented were: 1) Provide differentiated instruction and assessment that ensures that every student reaches increasingly higher levels of achievement, 2) Elevate teaching and learning to a consistently rigorous level in which students apply knowledge and skills to predictable and unpredictable real world situations, 3) Improve teaching, learning, and district efficiency through the use of technology, 4) Expand our current grade 6-8 Spanish language program to offer rigorous, standards-based world language instruction for all students from grades K-8.

Committee Member Bucky Brennan questioned whether the wording of the plan’s fourth goal, expansion of the language program, would require the school department to offer Spanish instead of another world language in the lower grades.

Lukon explained that the choice of language would depend on a number of factors including funding sources and potential program partners. The committee agreed to strike the word Spanish from the fourth goal in order to make the intent clear. With that one revision in place, the school committee approved the plan by unanimous vote.

The school committee also presented the first Elizabeth Stone Scholarship Awards on Thursday. Committee Member Julie Kallfelz, who served on the scholarship advisory panel with parent Nora Santamour and retired teacher Fran Gorman, announced the names of the two scholarship recipients: Sarah Pease and Jessica Bucklin. Both recipients were in attendance and thanked the committee for the $2,000 awards.

Pease will attend Rhode Island School of Design and Bucklin will attend Global College at Long Island University.

In other business, the committee voted unanimously to rescind the non-renewal/reduction/elimination notices of 12 teachers. The committee also approved the 2009- 2010 school year appointments of Kristen DeSantis as student council advisor Also appointed were Nicholas Alfred as technology coach at Lawn and as crosscountry coach, Renie Sullivan as wellness coach, Karyn Kauffman as jazz band coach and piano accompanist and Eric Bush as boy’s basketball coach. The committee accepted with regret the resignations of teacher Tara Toolan and teacher assistant Jennifer Eagles.

Finally, Marilyn Hostettler presented a detailed presentation on model schools methods and practices and reviewed the introduction and implementation of these practices at Jamestown schools.

Teacher Jennifer Kittredge Clark shared a Gold Seal Quadrant D lesson. Quadrant D lessons focus on real world applicability and Kittredge Clark’s lesson involved allowing students to research and then present their own lesson on a topic of their choice.

The lesson was a great success and helped students to develop public speaking skills, which is an important learning objective for the sixth grade, Kittredge Clark said.

The committee was particularly impressed by the number of Jamestown teachers whose Quadrant D lessons have been accepted by the International Center for Leadership in Education and published on its Gold Seal Library web site.

The next meeting of the Jamestown School Committee will be Thursday, July 9. All meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the Lawn School library.

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