“High Expectations & Achievement for All” is the first goal — and according to Montclair Schools Superintendent Penny MacCormack — the most important of the district’s Strategic Plan.
At the halfway mark of the two-year plan, a progress report on the academic achievement aspect of this goal will be presented by Chief Academic Officer Gail Clarke at Monday night’s Montclair Board of Education meeting. The meeting will be held in the Montclair High School Auditorium, 100 Chestnut St., at 7:30 p.m., and will be streamed live on Baristanet.
The district has been implementing a number of strategies to meet the goal of “High Expectations and Achievement for All,” including encouraging the sharing of best practices among teachers. In addition to offering professional development, teachers can now turn to content specialists within the school to have their questions addressed immediately.
“There’s now an expert in each school that can help them right then and there,” MacCormack said.
Another key factor to reaching the highest achievement for all, MacCormack said, is responding to teachers’ needs.
For example, she said, “We adopted a new math textbook series based on the teachers saying what they really needed in addition to the curriculum.”
Teachers also played a key role in developing growth targets for Student Growth Objectives, or SGOs. They were trained in administering assessments, such as the DRA2 and Reading Growth tests and a manual is now in the works. Resources have also been made available to parents (see list at end of presentation or go to www.montclairk12.nj.us).
Pre-K screening is another important strategy. In 2013-14, teachers developed a screening tool, as well as a school readiness inventory. Use of the screening tool is being encouraged, but not mandated.
The district has also formed a Kindergarten Task Force in 2014-15, reaching out to the Montclair Community Pre-K, private pre-K schools and Head Start, as a new tactic to make sure pre-K students are prepared for entering public schools.
“It’s so crucial that we are having that conversation with the folks that are preparing them,” MacCormack said. “Everyone has the same goal, it’s just a matter of talking to one another.”
“High expectations and achievement for all” was a goal developed in alignment with feedback obtained from the community, MacCormack said.
“We expect the highest achievement and have high expectations for all kids,” she said.
Tonight’s presentation will also include state-mandated district reporting of NJ ASK NJ-HSPA test results and achievement gap analysis based on three sub-groups: race/ethnicity, economic disadvantage and special education.
At the Oct. 6 BOE meeting, the superintendent presented on the School Climate portion of “High Expectations and Achievement for All.”