Board of Education Approves Five Academic Priorities for Next Four Years as Key 'Steps for Success'

September 24, 1999
In a move designed to allow the targeting of all school system resources on improving teaching and learning, the Board of Education last night [Thursday, September 23] unanimously approved five academic priorities for the next four years that will guide Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast as he prepares major new initiatives to "fulfill the promise of the Success for Every Student plan."

The five academic priorities focus on using proven best practices to improve the educational design and delivery of instructional programs, organizing school system personnel and other assets to improve academic results, using analytical measurements of the effectiveness of teachers and principals to improve student performance, establishing a "literacy based" initiative from birth to kindergarten to improve the readiness for school, and creating unique and "friendly" partnerships with families and communities.

"Our goal is to give the superintendent the support and authority he needs to fulfill the promise of the Success for Every Student plan," said Board of Education President Reginald M. Felton. "We reached a consensus on these five priorities because everything we do as an organization must be based on making our schools more productive for all of our students."

Dr. Weast has already initiated major planning efforts that will be presented to the Board of Education over the next several months to reorganize the school system's central administration into a design that provides more concentrated support for schools and the flexibility necessary to implement improvements in critical student performance areas -- in particular, closing the achievement differences by race and ethnicity and improving overall student achievement.

"The action by the Board of Education is a major accomplishment," said Dr. Weast. "The Board has taken quick and concise action in approving the framework that allows us to move forward in harnessing the resources of our school system and the best practices of our nation to improve teaching and learning throughout the school system. I greatly appreciate the leadership and support the Board has given in this most important area."

The Board said the academic priorities would extend through 2003 and identified them as "Steps for Success" for the "furtherance of the Success for Every Student strategic plan." The priorities are:

  • Improve the educational design and delivery of instruction and curriculum by utilization of proven best practices.

  • Organize and optimize assets for improved academic results.

  • Analyze and measure teachers' and principals' effectiveness in improving student performance and results.

  • Develop, expand, and coordinate a literacy-based birth to kindergarten initiative.

  • Create unique, innovative family and community friendly partnerships to improve academic results.

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