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Schools

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Upcoming work sessions
Fort Wayne Community Schools board of trustees work sessions to discuss Superintendent Wendy Robinson’s goals for the coming school year will take place at 4 p.m. Feb. 17, March 3, March 17 and April 21 in the Grile Administration Center board room, 1200 S. Clinton St. The meetings are open to the public.

FWCS maps out goals for the future

Five district goals with programs designed to increase student achievement, improve schools and support the Fort Wayne Community Schools family could play an important role in more than just classrooms.

The success or failure of the programs will also be linked to Superintendent Wendy Robinson’s performance evaluation and pay, school board members said Monday.

Over the next two months, board members, Robinson and other district leaders will meet during several public work sessions to discuss the goals in detail.

Although the goals will not be implemented until next school year, the meetings will allow board members to communicate concerns and finalize a plan for moving forward, Robinson said.

And Robinson’s ability to meet the goals set by the board will play an important role in her superintendent evaluation in the coming years.

The current process FWCS uses to evaluate Robinson’s performance was drawn heavily from an evaluation that was used by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The school board began using the evaluation in September 2011, but has struggled in recent years to gather data from the state Department of Education needed to determine her performance-based pay.

Board members have said they would like to review the evaluation process and asked board attorney Tim McCaulay to research whether North Carolina continues to use the evaluation.

The board also asked McCaulay to look into what other districts across the country are using as an evaluation tool.

“I have already pulled some other evaluation models from other states so I’m prepared to offer what else is out there in respect to superintendent style evaluations,” McCaulay said.

Goals outlined

On Monday, Robinson outlined five new goals.

The district will also continue to focus on updating and improving facilities and maintaining services as the state continues to cut funding, Robinson added.

The first goal is to create a districtwide system to make it easier for students to transition from one grade level to the next.

That plan will also involve meeting state standards while increasing the scores of lower-rated schools and maintaining the high scores of other schools, Robinson explained.

FWCS has eight A-rated schools, seven B-rated schools, 20 C-rated schools, 13 D-rated schools and one school with an F rating, according to A-F accountability data released Dec. 20 by the state Department of Education.

The second goal will be to create a way to recognize schools, teachers and departments that go above and beyond for success, Robinson said.

Goals three and four will be creating better support for students and adults with a focus on professional development for teachers and a better understanding of the link between students’ academic success and behavior.

“What we need our teachers to understand is that student behavior doesn’t impact learning,” Robinson said.

If a student has challenges outside the classroom that are affecting learning, the district must be prepared to provide for that student, she said.

“We’re proposing a better way to service kids who may drop in from Chicago or who may come straight from a refugee camp or a kid who has been at East Allen (Community Schools),” Robinson said.

“ … a different kind of structure where we just don’t drop kids into a school because then the schools are struggling trying to figure out what to do.”

The fifth goal will be to keep FWCS students coming back each school year, Robinson said.

“We need to be making sure that our programs and services match our students, parents and community needs and expectations,” she said.

Once fully vetted during upcoming work sessions, the five goals will factor into Robinson’s evaluation as the board works to determine her compensation.

jcrothers@jg.net

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