School Board Discusses Goals

School BoardBy Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News

Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Monday night, the Oskaloosa School Board met in work session and discussed board goals moving forward.

The board did not take action on any of the items. The board simply wanted to hold a brainstorming session to begin defining its goals.

Among the items discussed were test scores, facility needs, and the morale of school staff. Board member Nik Rule said he’s received varying opinions from teachers on the direction the district is taking.

“Obviously, there are some people that are a little bit frustrated with test scores and things like that. And the other side of it is there’s people that really, really believe passionately in where the curriculum is going,” Rule said. “I’ve visited with some teachers who just absolutely think that we’re heading towards armageddon. And then I’ve heard others that say, ‘we just gotta stick with the plan, things are going to be okay.'”

The board also discussed adding more dual-credit opportunities with William Penn University and Indian Hills Community College.

The board will likely discuss goals again on its second meeting of the month in April. In the meantime, Superintendent Russ Reiter will compile the list for each board member to evaluate. The board is also waiting for the curriculum assessment report conducted by the IASB last week. That should also help the board define what are some areas for improvement.

The board divided its goals into eight different categories, and brainstormed roughly 30 different items. Here’s the list:

Student Achievement (measurable):

  • Increase graduation rate
  • Decrease dropout rate
  • Increase AIMSweb testing to 80 percent
  • Increase student attendance
  • Iowa Association of School Boards assessment report
  • Check ACT scores
  • Increase Iowa Assessment test scores on Department of Education site
  • Dual-credit courses, increase number of other options
  • Post-secondary education trends

Financial

  • Solvency ratio of 10 percent
  • Spending authority

Technology

  • Expand one-to-one laptop program to eighth grade (potentially sixth or seventh grade)
  • Community relationship/cooperation agreements

Long Term Plan

  • What does enrollment look like in 10 years?
  • Sharing agreements with schools, municipalities

School Climate

  • Raise staff morale
  • Evaluate staff losses
  • Evaluate percentage of students involved in extracurricular activities
  • Keep teachers and staff involved in changes
  • Be constantly aware of bullying and harrasment

Facilities

  • Annual building walk-throughs
  • Maintenance list
  • Explore career academy
  • Five-year plan with annual review
  • What is plan for Old Community Stadium and other facilities?
  • Long term facility needs

Community/District Relationships

  • Kinder Prep results report
  • Promote student groups in area, state or larger

Board Professional Development

  • Attend 80-90 percent of school board meetings
  • Attend two IASB meetings, plus the IASB convention

The next school board meeting is on April 8 at 7 p.m.

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