Charleston County School Board members got a better understanding of the district’s five-year Vision 2016 plan on Monday night, but they still want more information on whether its programs are working and the possibility of speeding up that work.
School Superintendent Nancy McGinley presented to the board a 143-page report on Vision 2016 and its strategic focus areas and programs. Her aim was to provide a blueprint that explained the background and framework of the plan, which has specific, measurable goals for student achievement.
“It captures all of the programs that we feel are critical to moving the district forward,” McGinley said. “I view this as a work in progress, and what we view as the critical strategies that are going on throughout the district.”
She explained the district’s four focus areas that have remained constant for the past seven years — educator effectiveness, literacy-based learning, innovative schools and systems, and partnerships — as well as the changing programs and projects that support those strategies.
Board members didn’t talk about the district’s progress, which generally has happened but not at a rate that would meet the 2016 deadline, but they said they appreciated the information and gave the superintendent suggestions for improvement.
“We approve a lot of things and a lot of programs,” said board member Tom Ducker. “What you have done now is given us a picture of where those things fit and why we’re doing them. … This to me becomes a guide, so when you come to us with additional program requests to spend money, we’re going to ask, ‘Where does this fit in this document?’”
Board member Chris Fraser said he’d like to see more information on how the programs relate to student achievement. He said he wants to know what programs are making the biggest difference because the district has limited resources.
McGinley said the board has received those kinds of reports, and those need to be referenced and highlighted in this overview.
Board member John Barter called the document a great reference tool, and he said he’d like to use it as a starting point for a bigger conversation about how the district can move toward its 2016 goals faster. He requested that board Chairwoman Cindy Bohn Coats ask the superintendent to return to the board within a month to talk about ideas that could help the district’s under-served children.
“What I’m asking for is to be presented some ideas that are so compelling that we as a board have to find a way to support them,” he said.
Board member Elizabeth Moffly said she’d like to see more of a cost analysis of the district’s programs.
“It all comes down to money,” she said. “It’s something we should be looking at.”
In other business, the board agreed 5-4 to a month-to-month extension of the lease of the former Schroder Middle School building in Hollywood to Lowcountry Leadership Charter School. Coats, Board Vice Chairman Craig Ascue and members Craig Ascue and Michael Miller voted against the majority.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or (843) 937-5546.
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