Preliminary School District Goals for 2012-13 Outlined
Superintendent says primary emphasis will be on improving student achievement, teacher professional development
Parsippany Troy-Hills Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz gave the public an early look at goals and priorities being developed for the next school year at Thursday night's Board of Education meeting at Parsippany Hills High School.
Seitz said the goals proposed stem directly from the district's stated mission to, among other things, offer effective instruction, develop students' learning potential for the rest of their lives, boost self-worth and confidence, empower teachers to become partners in formulating educational strategies and involve parents and the community.
"This reflects our interest in improving student achievement," he said, "especially [for] students who are partially proficient" in one or more academic subject areas as demonstrated by standardized testing results.
The aim here, he explained, is to increase the number of students earning proficient and advance proficient status on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge test given to students in grades 3-8 across the state.
"Our goal is for test scores to exceed District Factor Group averages," he said.
These averages allow school districts to compare their peformance with those of similarly sized districts.
Seitz added that the goals under development adhere to an unfunded mandate from the state Department of Education.
A major part of the district's focus on boosting student performance is helping to develop educators' professional skills, according to the superintendent.
Seitz outlined plans proposed for 2012-13, including:
- implementing a revised remedial program in math and study skills
- expanding remedial programs
- exploring ways to keep class size as low as possible
- adding two administrator positions to provide instruction support services
- reinstating the science coordinating supervisor position
- implementing the parental communication aspect of the Genesis Web portal being employed by teachers
- moving ahead with pilot programs focusing on iPads and other technological learning tools
- defining elementary and middle school initiatives.
Additionally, Superintendent Seitz said the district wants to complete negotiations with its employee unions. He noted that the district is studying the impact of new laws mandating that teachers and other public workers contribute to their health benefit costs.
"We're really putting into focus how it impacts employees," he said. "It's very significant, more than most people realize."
Capitol projects are part of the plan as well. Seitz said a much-needed upgrade to the boiler room at Par Hills High will cost "a little over a million dollars," and he added that the replacement of the roof at Northvail Elementary School is a major priority.
Seitz told the school board members that they need to review the proposed goals and objectives by June 1 and may add, delete or modify as they see fit.
BOE President Frank Calabria charged its Critical Issues Committee with reviewing and making proposed changes to the plan. He asked chairman Anthony Mancuso to report back to the full board by May 19, when the body holds its next meeting.