School District at Work on Goals in Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan for the Derry Cooperative School District is meeting its goals, with several items marked “complete” and removed from the working document.

Superintendent Laura Nelson gave a report on the implementation of the plan at the Aug. 26 School Board meeting.

Nelson presented the plan in two formats: a narrative and an Excel “matrix” of work done and work yet to be done.

The document is 50 pages long, Nelson said.

The plan covers the district’s five elementary schools and two middle schools and also has goals for the District administration. It provides for accountability and ranks work as “in progress,” “complete” or “ongoing.” For example, the first goal on the first page of the matrix is “To have all students, K-12, learning at a high level.”

The document lists how that is to be accomplished, by “providing a rigorous curriculum aligned with Common Core for all students.” The subgoal is to have common core committees in math, English, language arts and literacy in ELA (English and Language Arts) and Science to write and modify core maps in alignment with Common Core; the evidence is to be a modified Common Core map in ELA and Math and a new Science core map; the party responsible is district and leadership teams; and the item was marked “complete.”

A second subgoal, developing common assessments in ELA and Math, is marked “in progress.” A third, researching and piloting a universal screening tool to produce student grade level data in reading and math, is “in progress” and a pilot program is in place at the middle schools for 2014-15.

“I like the format,” board member Dan McKenna said, in particular the designations of “Complete,” “In Progress” or “Ongoing.”

“It will be a handy document to have in committee meetings, or in the budget process,” McKenna observed.

McKenna expressed doubt about Nelson’s plan to remove “completed” items, noting that “We want this to be a long-term planning document, not short term.” But member Brenda Willis pointed out that the completed items will be in the State of the Schools document issued in January, and the two documents could be archived together.

The narrative portion includes individual school achievements, such as the following:

• West Running Brook Middle School: A new schedule designed to create a daily 45-minute intervention period; Special Education teachers’ schedules developed on student need, not what works for administration and teachers.

• Gilbert H. Hood Middle School. “Goal is to increase student responsibility for learning by posting academic expectations in classrooms.

• Derry Village Elementary School. Goal to have all students graduated from special education “pull out” reading groups by end of grade two.

• East Derry Memorial Elementary School. Math Committee met six times to discuss implementation of Math Challenge.

• Ernest P. Barka Elementary School: Grade One worked on Common Core-based unit on Polar Express; guidance counselors do bi-weekly classroom sessions focusing on problem-solving skills, friendship skills and decision-making.

• Grinnell Elementary School: Staff members attended workshop with writing consultant Penny Clare; Readers Workshop training.

• South Range Elementary School: Using Chromebooks in the classroom; iPads with Title I and Special Education students; students job-shadowing teachers.