Thursday, September 10, 2015

Superintendent's Goals for 2015-16

I just wanted to be sure to share my goals with all of you!  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out.  You can comment on this post, you can email me ( or you can call me (222-1012).  THANK YOU!

Gorham School Department
Superintendent’s Annual Goals

Goal #1 – To strengthen the Gorham Schools overall district mission/vision and core documents by completing a school and community wide “re-visioning” process involving all appropriate stakeholders.

(NE) Deals with:  Vision/Mission, Climate Culture, Organizational Management, Human Resource Management, School Committee Relations, and Educational Leadership

I have completed 101 interviews thus far with various school administrators, school staff, parents, and community members as part of my entry plan with the goal of completing 120 such interviews by the end of September.  Throughout these conversations about perceived “strengths” and “areas of challenge” one theme that has emerged is the need to strengthen and re-invigorate the great work that was done here in Gorham about 5 years ago when we last updated our Mission/Vision and Core Beliefs documents as a school system.

In many interviews individuals acknowledged that they didn’t have a strong sense for what our K-12 district vision was and what role they would need to play in making it a reality for our children.  Many individuals spoke of having strong school visions, but they weren’t sure if those connected to the district’s or not.  Many individuals also talked about feeling as though each school was beginning to re-form the “silos” that had existed before the last visioning process was conducted and they didn’t want to see that happen again.

As a new incoming Superintendent, it is clear to me that these original documents (created in 2010) were well thought out and have served our district well.  However, it is also clear to me that these documents are no longer “alive” and that because of this lack of a strong, transparent and well-known K-12 vision we are not maximizing our efforts and instead are being pulled in too many directions at once without an ability to prioritize the work and align it with our vision.  Additionally, these previous vision documents were created prior to our Proficiency Based Learning (PBL) work and we need to include our PBL vision within a re-visioning process.

The process I am suggesting would NOT throw out the old documents and start from scratch.  Instead, the process I would like to facilitate would merely involve a “re-visioning” process that would use our already existing mission/vision and core documents as the foundation of our work.  We could then build on and “revive” these core documents through discussion and “tweaking” to meet the current demands being placed upon our school system.  This process would involve all stakeholders (School Committee, School Leadership, Staff, Parents, Students, and Community members) and would culminate in the creation of a revived School Vision, School Mission, and Core Belief documents.  These documents could then be used to later create a comprehensive Strategic Plan that will help to guide our work moving forward and allow us to focus and prioritize our efforts and to align our entire organization to these well-articulated beliefs and practices.

Planned Action Steps
Draft Timeline
Anticipated “Deliverables”
*  Discuss with School Committee and gain approval of the overall process.

By End of September, 2015
*  School Committee Vote to approve of re-visioning process.
*  Hire Consultant/Facilitator to assist Superintendent in the re-visioning process.
By October, 2015
*  Approved Contract for services
*  Create Stakeholder Design Team to include the following approximate membership:

Proposed Team (16):
-  SC members (1)
-  District Level Leadership (1)
-  School Level Leadership (2)
-  Teachers (1 from each building)(5)
-  Students (2)
-Parents (one from each grade level (3)
-Community Members (2)

(I might suggest we “re-purpose” our District PBL team to create this group)

By October, 2015
*  First meetings agendas and minutes
Steering Committee Designs strategies & tools for community engagement process, seeking stakeholder’s input on vision.
October – January, 2015
*  Meeting agendas, minutes; flyers, posters, surveys, meeting invitations, etc.
*  Conduct public forums and surveys to gather feedback that will be used by Design Team (DT)  to determine themes in the vision.
January–mid-March, 2016
*  Flyers, posters, meeting, invitations, agenda, survey responses, etc.
*  Design Team organizes data from stakeholders; invites 30-40 additional stakeholders to a 2-hour evening meeting to determine main themes/big ideas that should be in the vision.
April, 2016
Data summary, meeting agenda, identified themes, etc.
*  Vision Writing Group drafts a newly “re-visioned” Gorham Schools’ Mission and Vision Statement and core beliefs document utilizing data collected at public forums and via the community and staff design team process.
April, 2016
*  Draft  Mission/Vision and Core Beliefs Document.
*  Steering committee gathers feedback on draft from conference attendees, subset of staff & school committee (brief post period on web site for general public feedback)
Late April – early May.
Feedback results.
*  Steering committee makes final revisions to MVB based on feedback.
Mid-late May, 2016
Meeting agendas, minutes.
*  Final draft MVB document goes to School Committee for approval.
June, 2016
Final Approved Re-Visioned Gorham Schools Mission/Vision & Core Beliefs Document.

Goal #2 – To Be Visibly Present within the Schools and Community of Gorham.

(NE) Deals with:  Vision/Mission, Organizational Management, Human Resources Management, and Educational leadership.

The 101 Entry Plan interviews I have conducted thus far have helped me to create this goal as an area of emphasis and need within the Gorham School District.  A clear theme that has surfaced is that many individuals from both the school and community level suggested that they didn’t really see top school administration present a great deal within the schools and within the community.
Granted, this is often a theme in any Superintendent’s position I have ever held as the required work load of a Superintendent does not leave a lot of “free time” available to participate in as many events as one would like.  However, there is no more important component to leadership than simply “being present”, and if one doesn’t pay close attention to this as a goal, then it is often one of the easiest things to forget and accidently not do.  Therefore, I am making this increased visibility a priority for my first year here in Gorham.

Planned Action Steps
Draft Timeline
Anticipated “Deliverables”
*  Attend at least 1 home game for every sport in every season (Fall, winter, spring) at the HS level.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*  Attend at least 1 home game for every sport in every season (Fall, winter, spring) at the MS level.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*  Attend at least 1 away game during each season (Fall, Winter, Spring) for a sporting event of my choice.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*  Attend Holiday Band Concerts for MS/HS level
November/December, 2015
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*  Attend Parent Conference nights at Elementary Levels.
October, 2015
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*  Attend the High School Musical in the spring
Spring, 2016
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*  Attend at least 2 academic extra-curricular events (such as Odyssey of the Mind, Robotics, Civil Rights Team, etc) at Gorham High School
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 Survey
*Visit with the Lakes Region Senior Center and the Gorham House at least once during the year.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts& 360 survey
*  Continue to participate and facilitate the Business Roundtable.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*Attend/participate in at least one event from the Gorham Business Exchange.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*Work to set aside Thursday mornings as “School visit” mornings so that I can visit each school at least once per month.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey
*  Attend assorted school staff meetings, K-5 or 6-12 Cluster meetings, RTI meetings, etc. throughout the year.
Throughout the year
Twitter/FB/Blog posts & 360 survey

Goal #3 – To Continue to Move the Gorham Schools Towards the Creation of It’s PBL System of Education for Grades K-12.

(CF) Deals with:  Vision/Mission, Organizational Management, Human Resources Management, Educational leadership, and State Requirements of LD 1422.

The Gorham Schools have been working to create a Proficiency Based Learning System for several years now, even before the introduction of LD 1422 by the State of Maine, our Elementary Schools were aligned to and reporting out on Standards.  With the advent of the Common Core standards and LD 1422, we have had to spend the past several years re-aligning our K-5 work with these new standards and bringing our 6-12 Schools into alignment. 

Our newly created position of Assistant Superintendent in Charge of Curriculum and Instruction led this work over the course of the past year and was able to get the Gorham Schools to a point where we now have clear performance indicators and learning objectives for grades K-5, complete with assessments and scoring guides for ELA and Math.  In grades 6-12, we have identified our graduation standards and have worked to begin creating Performance Indicators, Learning objectives and aligned scoring criteria across all content areas.  Additionally, we have created a district wide PBL committee whose charge it is to assist in continuing to lead this work.   This is all good, but as you might imagine, there is still much work to be done.

The Assistant Superintendent will be leading this continued work on a day in and day out basis, however, I believe there are several overarching themes that need continued focus by the Superintendent of Schools in order to align this work to the re-visioning process described under goal #1 and to communicate this work effectively across all stakeholders (Staff, students, parents, and community).

Planned Action Steps
Draft Timeline
Anticipated “Deliverables”
*  Work with the Asst. Superintendent to create a detailed Action plan for specific PBL work to be completed by the district for the 2015-16 school year and to share this plan for feedback with the Leadership Team and the Gorham School Committee.
September, 2015
*Completed PBL Action Plan.
*  Hire Great Schools Partnership to work with the Assistant Superintendent to accomplish required work at the grades 6-12 level according to the detailed action plan.
August, 2015
*  GSP contract and work agreement.
*  Provide a monthly presentation to the School Committee updating the School Committee on our PBL work via the SC member on the District PBL Team and Asst. Superintendent.
October – June, 2016
*SC minutes
*Work with Assistant Superintendent to create
A comprehensive PBL Parent communications plan specifically geared towards assisting parents in understanding how our grading structures will work via JumpRope (focus on K-5 and grade 7 for 2015-16).
November ,2015
*  Completed Parent Communications Plan.
*Work with the Asst. Superintendent to create a tab on our website for a “PBL Informational Page” where a description of our PBL “vision” will be housed (once re-visioned) as well as any appropriate notes of meetings, curriculum outlines, graduation standards, policy development, etc.    This will allow the public to follow our work and increase transparency amongst all stakeholders.
December, 2015
*Update website with PBL informational page.

Goal #4– To Monitor and Assess the First Year Implementation of our new Teacher and Building Administrator Evaluation System.

(CF) Deals with:  Climate/Culture, Human Resources Management, Educational Leadership and State Mandate.

The 2015-16 School year will be the first full year implementation of our newly created Teacher and Building Administrator Evaluation Systems.  This first year implementation will be the culmination of almost three years worth of work.  We will be utilizing new standards (Danielson standards for Teachers and Marshall Standards for Principals/Program Directors) and new software systems that will require a great deal of training and learning in order for these to be effectively implemented across all schools K-12. 

We have devoted our full day workshop days to this work over the course of the coming school year.  It will be important to continually monitor and assess the effectiveness of the processes so that we can insure success.

Planned Action Steps
Draft Timeline
Anticipated “Deliverables”
* Work with Asst. Superintendent to upload all required standards and information into our “Reflect” software system.
August/September, 2015
*Completed spreadsheet.
*Conduct initial Admin. Training in use of  “Reflect”
August, 2015
*Training notes
*Collect from Admin. Lists of all staff to be evaluated and on what cycles and when.
September, 2015
*Completed spreadsheet
*  Conduct initial teacher mentor training in “Reflect”
September, 2015
*Training notes
*  Provide time for mentor teachers to train school staff in use of “Reflect”
October, 2015
*Oct. 9 Early release agendas/notes.
*  Bring the two separate steering committees together under one steering committee.
December, 2015
Agendas/Meeting notes
*  Oversee Completion of Admin. Training in “Focus” Phase I.
By end of January, 2016
*Report pulled from Focus.
*  Oversee Completion of Admin. Training in “Focus” Phase II.
By end of June, 2016
*Report pulled from Focus
*Create cyclical monitoring of progress via Cabinet and Council meetings to make sure timelines are being met and software system is being properly utilized.
September – June, 2016
*Cabinet/Council meeting agendas and notes.
* Check lists of all required evaluations to make sure they were completed.
May/June, 2016
*  Completed spreadsheet with “spot checks”.
*  Collect feedback from Administrators and staff to inform any necessary changes to the system for the 2016-17 School Year.
May/June, 2016
*Survey results/data.

Goal #5 – To Create and Implement a Needs-Based Budgeting approach for the creation of the FY 17 Gorham School Department Budget.

(NI) Deals with:  Vision/Mission, Organizational Management, Human Resources Management

The Gorham School Department’s annual budget is approximately $35,000,000.00.  Since 2008, the Gorham Schools (along with every other school system in the State of Maine) has struggled to balance the needs of providing our children with high quality educational programming with the ability of our taxpayers to fund those necessary programs.   As the State of Maine continues to decrease its commitments to fund public education the local burden to fund these necessary programs becomes even greater, stretching our already scarce resources.

During such times, it is important that school district budgets are built from the bottom up, making sure that every item being requested within the budget is necessary to meet the needs of our children and the mission/vision of our school system.  The development of a needs based budget ensures this process is thorough and transparent so that by the time the budget reaches our local taxpayers for approval, it is clear that what is being requested is needed and not just there because it was the year before.

The overall goal of a needs-based budgeting approach is to use the entire process of developing a budget as a communications tool so that the process is transparent, easily understood, and clear that every item requested is necessary and aligned to the fulfillment of our school’s mission/vision.

Planned Action Steps
Draft Timeline
Anticipated “Deliverables”
*  Draft budget development timeline and steps and communicate with School Committee to gain approval.
*  September, 2015
*Approved Budget Development Timeline
*  Train Principals and Program Directors regarding expectations and processes required.
*  October/November, 2015
*Cabinet/Council agendas and minutes
*  Joint “Dine and Discuss” meeting with School Committee and Leadership Team.
*  November, 2015
*  Prepared booklet information
*  Begin initial school/program budget process.
*  November/December, 2015
*  Template spreadsheets created and used as desired.
*  School/program budgets due to Finance Officer and Superintendent
*  December, 2015
*  Completed budgets
*  Individual meetings with each Principal/Program Director with Superintendent, Finance Officer, and Asst. Superintendent.
* December/January, 2016
*  Notes from meetings.
* Review of initial “status quo” and superintendent proposed budget with Leadership team.
*  January, 2016
*  Cabinet/Counsel meeting agendas and notes.
*  Finalized “Status quo” and superintendent proposed budget presented to Finance Committee.
*  February, 2016
*  completed status quo and superintendent’s proposed budgets.
*  Development of website Budget Development page and Blog posts used to inform community about key pieces of information.
February – June, 2016
*  completed web-page and blog posts.
* Finalized Finance Committee Budget presented to School Committee for workshops
*  March, 2016
*  completed FC proposed budget.
*  School Committee approves proposed FY 17 Budget.
*  April, 2016
*  Approved School Committee Proposed Budget.
*  Workshop and meetings with Town Council to approve FY 17 Budget
*  May, 2016
*  Approved Proposed FY 17 Budget.
Budget validation Referendum
*   June, 2016
*  Approved Proposed FY 17 Budget.

These five goals will be my priority goals for the 2015-16 School Year.

In addition to these priority goals, I also have several other “smaller goals” that are important in the following areas:

I.               Educational Program:

·      To continue to monitor, assess, and submit periodic updates on vertical team implementation at the Narragansett School. (CF)

·      To monitor, assess, and submit a report to the School Committee regarding fall implementation of Jump Start Program across all schools. (NE)

·      To continue to monitor, assess, and submit periodic updates on the new K-5 Alternative Education Program (NE).

II.             Budget/Finance:

·      To revise processes used to communicate monthly financials to the Finance Committee in order to increase transparency.  (NE)

III.           Personnel

·      To negotiate in collaboration with the School Committee a new GTA contract with teachers. (CF)

·      To monitor, assess, and make recommendations to the School Committee regarding the continuation of DARE program at our elementary schools and the overall focus of our School Resource Officers. (NE)

IV.            Facilities

·      To continue to work with the School Committee on addressing the Capital needs of all facilities across the district. (CF)

·      To work with the School Committee on further improvements to our security and safety systems across the district’s five schools. (CF)

All of this in addition to my “normal” duties of conducting monthly School Committee meetings and workshops, monthly leadership team meetings, overseeing a 35 million dollar budget, 2,600 + students, 370+ staff, working to increase collaborations within the community, and much much more!

I look forward to a GREAT YEAR here within the Gorham Schools!

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