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October 3, 2012

School board approves superintendent goals

By April Lehmbeck
C & G Staff Writer

GROSSE POINTES — The superintendent has a bit of a roadmap set out for him with a set of goals that the board approved for the 2012-13 school year during its Sept. 24 meeting. 

A list of 14 of the goals for the superintendent stem from Board Policy 1230, which spells out the “responsibilities of the superintendent.” Those range from communication responsibilities that keep the board informed through documents and meetings to evaluating staff progress and working with parents and community groups.

Several more goals also were included in the document that concern areas like student assessment, updating the school improvement plan, marketing and implementing a technology plan that will “enhance educational programs and instructional practices for 21st century learning.”

“I’ve also included some additional goals that tie into what we are attempting to do as a school system and the leadership that I need to do in that regard,” Superintendent Thomas Harwood said.

Another goal focuses on financial planning by working “with the board regarding budget parameters to determine areas of efficiency and cost containment in order to maintain fiscal integrity and sustain quality programs and services.”

Board President Judy Gafa and Vice President Lois Valente had wanted to table the goals for a month so that the policy committee could look at some changes they are working on in regards to the superintendent evaluation process.

Valente explained that some changes in the law with superintendent evaluations concerning student performance measurements mean they need to make some changes in the process.

“Those goals would directly tie into this piece,” Valente said.

“Instead of putting goals into place now and then having to develop a new process and voting on that, maybe if we delay it for another month, we’ll have a new process and goals that tie into that student performance data in place,” Valente said.

Others felt no problem with moving forward at the meeting.

“There’s always an opportunity for continuous improvement,” Board Trustee Thomas Jakubiec said, adding that they could “add and adjust goals as needed” throughout the year.

Others agreed that adjustments could be made later if needed, and were ready to move forward. They voted 6-1 to approve the goals.

“I was happy to see the link to the continuous improvement plan,” Board Secretary Dan Roeske said, asking for details on how that tied into individual school plans.

Treasurer Brendan Walsh wants to see references to various goals, like district goals, superintendent goals and improvement plans, on board agenda items so everything ties into the district’s plan.

“I think we need to kind of embed them in our regular rhythm and be reminded of them,” Walsh said.

Valente was the sole vote against the goals. She said her reason for voting against them isn’t because she disagrees with any one specific goal. She said that there are so many different goals in the district for different areas. 

“For me, the reason that I object to the approval to the superintendent goals isn’t that I don’t think the goals are the right goals, but I really don’t see that tight alignment,” Valente said.

She feels the new process they are working on will align superintendent goals to district goals, which will align with school-improvement goals. It would allow the district to move forward with a streamlined set of goals that all work together.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer April Lehmbeck at alehmbeck@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1043.