New Albany News

School board sets eight goals for this year

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The New Albany-Plain Local school board reviewed previous goals last month before approving eight goals Aug. 26 for the 2013-14 school year.

School board President Laura Kohler called it "a tremendous amount of work."

This year's goals are:

* To increase student achievement.

* To strengthen the positive school culture.

* To design a new system of evaluation and professional growth.

* To expand the district's international focus.

* To improve communications and collaboration.

* To enhance the development of human capital.

* To reach critical milestones in strategic development.

* To ensure financial accountability and transparency.

Academic achievement already has increased, according to the most recent state report card from the Ohio Department of Education, district officials said.

To increase student achievement, the district will add curriculum based on "national, international and Common Core State Standards," research-based ideas and innovation by district teachers, said Marilyn Troyer, the district's chief of innovation, improvement and human capital.

Last school year, district officials created a diversity committee and continued anti-bullying education to improve student culture. This year, they plan to bring back author Rosalind Wiseman, who writes about confrontation in schools.

Troyer said the district will host other speakers for students and the community, and it will sponsor another Challenge Day, which encourages students to learn about the lives of others in order to better relate to them.

The district also is piloting a new teacher evaluation system this year and will continue developing progress measurements for teachers and students, Troyer said.

As for the international component, last year the district added Mandarin Chinese classes at the K-1 elementary building and middle school.

Mandarin Chinese was added at the 2-5 elementary building this year, said district spokesman Patrick Gallaway.

Gallaway said the district improved communications last year, increasing the use of social media and other Internet tools. This year, he said, he is developing a strategic plan for the communications department.

Enhancing "human capital" includes negotiating contracts with the teachers union -- the Plain Local Education Association -- and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 303. Both contracts expire in June 2014.

Treasurer Rebecca Jenkins said the financial goal includes posting more reports online to expand residents' access to district financial information.

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