The New Albany-Plain Local benchmarking committee is reviewing information on at least 10 schools that could help the district complete its vision of "reinventing education," superintendent April Domine told the school board June 22.

The New Albany-Plain Local benchmarking committee is reviewing information on at least 10 schools that could help the district complete its vision of "reinventing education," superintendent April Domine told the school board June 22.

"We're digging into what 'reinventing education' means," Domine said. "It's a constant conversation that's always evolving."

Domine said the benchmarking committee has been working since February to determine how to find the best-performing schools in the nation.

Schools are ranked by their students' performances on tests. But Domine said there has to be another way to determine which schools are best preparing students.

The benchmarking committee is working to create a "framework for the ongoing study and evaluation of high-performing and innovative schools, which can be used to continually evaluate the district over time," according to the June 22 presentation.

To date, the committee has identified 10 schools, most from out of state, that are considered high-performing. Those include public, private, charter and International Baccalaureate schools.

Committee members are scheduling phone interviews with the schools to learn more about how they are achieving good results.

The schools are in Minnetonka, Minn.; Princeton, N.J.; Tuscon (BASIS Charter), Ariz.; Milburn, N.J.; Fridley (International Baccalaureate), Minn.; Jericho, N.Y.; Bellevue, Wash.; Chicago (University of Chicago Laboratory School); Fremont (Unified), Calif.; and Solon, Ohio. Domine said that doesn't include local private schools such as Columbus Academy and the Columbus School for Girls, which also are being studied.

Kathy Vinciguerra is one of the committee members talking to the charter school in Tuscon. She said the school is willing to share information, which can help New Albany determine its own strengths and weaknesses. She said it can provide a "well-rounded assessment, which can provide information on where we are and where we want to be."

Vinciguerra said the committee's work could help New Albany learn shortcuts to achieve its vision and mission by adding new programs that other schools already are doing.

"I'm proud of where we are and excited that we want to get better," Vinciguerra said.

Neil Collins, another committee member, told the board June 22 it was good to see "how many different versions of good there are out there, both public and private."

Domine said the committee hopes to identify the top three high-performing schools from the phone interviews. She said the committee could visit them this year.

School board vice president Laura Kohler suggested having a public meeting when the three are indentified to share the committee's work with the public.

Domine said the benchmarking committee was formed through one of the district's initiatives in its strategic plan, which was adopted last year. It includes 46 members that represent the community, district staff, school unions, students, parent-teacher organizations, Plain Township and New Albany.

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