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School Committee Adopts District Goals for 2012-13; Educator Evaluation, Curriculum Alignment Tops Goals

The School Committee voted unanimously at its Sep. 12 meeting to adopt District Goals for the 2012-13 school year which will focus efforts of central office administrators in the coming year. Top priority for central administrative staff is implementation of a new educator evaluation system as required by the state and working closely with teachers to ensure that the new system fits within current contractual between the teacher's association and the school district. The state is requiring that school districts adopt educator evaluation systems as part of the "Race to the Top" program which will qualify the state and local school districts for federal funds.

Director of Teaching, Learning, and Accoutability Kerry Clery told School Committee members that Groton-Dunstable would be adopting the state model for educator evaluation and the District is on target in implementing initial procedures of the system. School Committee member Jon Sjøberg asked if the district will have to open new negotiations with the teachers' association. Interim Superintendent Anthony Bent said it would not be necessary as meetings are currently underway between the district and teachers' representatives on a "Memorandum of Understanding" which would allow implementation of the new system without ignoring current contractual agreements. Bent said the district is taking a "light touch" to the program despite its being a non-negotiable mandate of the state. Bent said the district has a strong relationship with the teachers' association and they have been involved with implementation of the new system at every step of the process.

Another goal to receive top priority in the coming year is to begin transitioning to what is called "Common Core State Standards." These are essentially learning standards under the Race to the Top program and will affect curriculum currently utilized in the district. Bent noted that it will be a two-year period to bring the district's curriculum in line with the new standards. Mathematics at the elementary level will receive a lot of attention in the coming year as will introducing the "core standard" concepts to teachers at both the elementary and secondary level.

Bent said both goals will be the focus of central office staff in the coming year but noted that other goals will also receive attention. These include goals for developing the district's fiscal 2014 operating budget, refining activities and protocols of Human Resources, developing a vision for instructional technology and assisting the school committee in the search for a new Superintendent.

School Committee Chair Alison Manugian said the School Committee would be developing their own set of goals for the 2012-2013 school year in the coming weeks.

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