Boosting student achievement, providing a positive and safe learning environment and improving technology are the three principal goals of a Comprehensive Educational Plan developed by a consultant for the Peekskill City School District.
Consultant Sherri Goffman, who began developing the plan in October, presented it to the Board of Education Tuesday night. Data reviewed included test results, reports and evaluations.
District strengths, Goffman said, include a supportive, dedicated staff willing to help students in need, a student-centered approach to education and a variety of programs. Areas in need of improvement include student achievement, technology (inconsistent from building to building), continuity in courses of study, help for English language learners, special education, time for professional development, attendance and communication.
The three-year plan includes strategies and checkpoints to enable the district to meet its goals by the end of the school year in June 2015. Among Goffman’s recommendations:
Achievement: Build a more comprehensive database to track student progress, maintain small class sizes, use allotted time for professional development as effectively as possible.
Environment: In response to questions from board member Douglas Glickert about persistently disruptive students, Goffman said the new alternative education program would help. While her plan does not include specific recommendations for use in the classroom, she cited the need for a survey to develop ways to deal with such behavior.
Technology: Improve consistency from building to building.
Goffman emphasized the importance of ensuring that some individual or group monitors implementation of the plan and adherence to the schedule. Superintendent of Schools James Willis said implementation would be spearheaded by Joseph Mosey, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and the Education Planning Committee. Willis emphasized that, while Mosey will coordinate, implementation is a responsibility of the entire district.
Board member Tuesday McDonald said the database work in particular needed to begin immediately. Board President Joseph Urbanowicz, summarizing board comments about the plan, said, “Reports are good and helpful but we must implement.”