District 181 administration is still without board-approved goals for 2013-14 after a discussion of discrepancies between a set of goals developed by a board committee and the set recommended for approval on Monday night’s agenda resulted in the adoption of neither.
The board voted down a motion by Brendan Heneghan to, instead of approving the goals presented by district administration in Monday’s agenda packet, approve a set of goals developed during a recent meeting of the goal-writing committee, which was made up of board members Gary Clarin and Mridu Garg, four administrators from the department of learning, and District 181 parent Matt Bousqeutte.
Heneghan was supposed to serve on the committee but was unable to attend the meeting, so Clarin attended in his place.
There were three overarching goals recommended for approval on Monday’s agenda:
- "Students will be college and career ready."
- "Students will show at least one year’s growth in one year’s time."
- "Students will demonstrate positive self-esteem."
Meanwhile, the goals that Heneghan moved to approve for the 2013-14 year, emailed to Patch by Bousquette, read as follows:
- "Every child in D181will learn more in key academic subjects (i.e. math, reading) than their respective peer group throughout the country during the 2013-2014 [school year]."
- "The D181 plan will 'leave no child behind' and will have 'no child held back' in terms of the learning growth during the course of the year --regardless of their 'starting point.'"
- "No class/school held back and no class and school left behind."
- "A goal that measures the emotional well-being of our children."
- "A goal that EXPLICITLY states how this addresses the virtual cycle of improvement—addressing concerns on how we will build upon our successes of the previous year (i.e. how the goals get set for the Oak fourth graders given their success last year) and what is the process for lifting up those who under-performed last year."
Heneghan and Garg were the only two board members who voted to approve the latter set of goals. Board President Marty Turek, Clarin, Jill Vorobiev and Glenn Yaeger voted against Heneghan's motion, while Michael Nelson was absent.
Garg said the committee supported the goals emailed by Bousquette while the goals on the agenda were “submitted by the administration.”
“The goals that are on [the agenda] do not reflect what the discussion was and what we actually agreed to,” Garg said.
She said she took issue with the expectation that all students make "at least one year's growth in one year's time" because that could mean that a student underperforming at the beginning of the year could make one year's growth, still be underperforming at year's end, and yet be considered a success according to the goal.
Heneghan, who attended the meeting remotely by telephone, said the differences reflect a “fear” held by the administration.
“They’re fearful of having any measurable data,” Heneghan said. “They want to declare a victory before it starts.”
“No, no, no,” Turek said as Heneghan made his statement.
Superintendent Renée Schuster, addressing the discrepancies between the goal-sets, said the administration understood the goals endorsed by the committee as a set of themes and said the goals it recommended reflected those themes.
“We took what the committee said they wanted and we made goals out of that,” Schuster said.
For example, Schuster said the committee’s goal that District 181 students do better than their peers nationally is addressed in the recommended goals by the combination meeting of college- and career-ready benchmarks, which will be based on a combination of ISAT and MAP RIT scores and class placement in sixth and ninth grades, and the growth goal that aims for “at least one year’s growth in one year’ time” for all students.
Schuster said the recommended set of goals reflects the committee goals, but are stated differently.
Clarin, who sat on the committee, shared the same view, saying he believed the recommended goals accurately reflected the committee’s goals, albeit “in a different format.”
Ultimately, the board took no action on the recommended goals and decided the committee should meet once more in an effort to reconcile the differences between the two sets of goals before a final vote is taken by the board at its Sept. 9 meeting.