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District 196 School Board reviews old goals, sets new ones

District 196 superintendent John Currie examined the progress made toward last year's goals and presented a new set of goals for the 2008-09 school year at Monday's school board meeting at Dakota Ridge School in Apple Valley.

The dual goals presented by Currie for 2008-09 include raising student achievement through relationships and remembering that parents, first and foremost, want academic preparation, a great climate and safety for their children.

"I think parents want relationships by adults in our buildings that serve to inspire and motivate their students to ultimately become happy and productive adults," Currie said. "I haven't met a parent yet who varies from that goal for their child."

Currie also broke down the progress that has been made in last year's goal areas: curriculum and assessment, community, special education and budget and finance.

Currie said great progress has been made in the curriculum and assessment area, thanks in large part to the continued implementation of the Quality Compensation, or QComp, program, which gives teachers a chance to earn bonus pay by taking steps that include writing a plan for their school year and submitting to evaluations by peer leaders. Other changes, including the teaching of world languages starting at the kindergarten level and the aligning of early childhood literacy and math with area kindergarten standards, have also been introduced.

School community goals include continued implementation of the district's integration and educational equity plan, evaluation of the school's safety procedures and communications with district residents through the new District 196 web site.

Curry said for the first time in several years the district achieved "controlled growth" in special education in 2007-08. The percentage of students in need of Individualized Education Programs went from 15.61 percent to 15.96 percent.

"It's probably the smallest increase we have had in some time," Curry said. "These students have needs and we need to service them. We've got great programs and we know that people move to this district to take advantage of those programs. It's a credit to the programs and the people working in those areas that people want to do that."

Curry addressed budget and finance performance last and was pleased to note that all projects from the 2004 bond issue are now complete and the new district office project is now under way.

"There are a lot of districts where (the budget) is the first thing on their page, so we're pleased to announce it's not the only thing for us. We are a relatively stable financial district," Curry said. "We anticipate another year ahead of stability and that's a good thing."

Curry also noted that District 196 crowned 14 team champions during the 2007-08 school year, likely becoming the first multiple-school district to have each of its schools win state titles in the same school year in the process. District 196 was also home to 48 individual champions.