Board of Education Lists New Focus Areas
Strategies for implementing the focus areas will be discussed at a BOE spring retreat.
The Summit Board of Education approved four new focus areas that will guide the district’s decision-making and resource allocations through the next three school years. Decided last month at its Jan. 19 meeting, the newly approved focus areas will replace the current focus areas that are in effect until the end of this school year.
The new guidelines are the result of input provided by parents, staff, and community members at four “Planning for the Future” meetings held throughout November and December of last year and through an online survey conducted through the district’s website.
“We feel confident that the new focus areas are representative of the concerns and goals of the community,” said Michelle Stevenson, board of education president. “Attendance at the planning meetings exceeded our expectations, and the conversation and exchange of ideas during the discussions covered a broad range of topics. There were many similarities among the issues raised at each meeting, which makes me feel confident that the final focus areas are indicative of the goals of our staff and community.
“On behalf of the entire board of education, I want to thank everyone who participated in this effort. Because of this type of collaboration we can face the coming school years with the certainty that we’re addressing the expectations and needs of the community,” Stevenson said.
The focus area planning process was facilitated by Gwen Thornton, a field representative of the New Jersey School Boards Association. At the first three meetings, Ms. Thornton asked the participants to consider the district’s strengths and challenges and to prioritize the issues they thought the district should be concentrating on during the next three school years.
Thornton also tallied the website survey results and synthesized and prioritized the responses. She summarized the input of the participants at the meetings and the survey respondents into four suggested focus areas, which were presented to the attendees at the final planning meeting Dec. 10. Following further discussion at that meeting, four final focus areas were decided upon and recommended to the board.
The focus areas for the Summit Public Schools through June 2015 are:
- Raising achievement for all students, eliminating achievement gaps among subgroups, and enabling each student to reach his and her potential
- Enhancing the social and emotional development of all students by educating the whole child in a nurturing environment
- Continuing fiscal management and operational efficiency to ensure the long-term sustainability of quality education.
- Informing and engaging parents and the broader Summit community through enhanced communication and outreach
Strategies for implementing the new focus areas will be a topic of discussion at the board of education’s annual retreat, which will be held in the spring. The board will initiate the development of action plans that will begin to go into effect when the 2012-13 school year begins.
—Summit Pubic Schools