The Troup County Board of Education is expected Thursday to approve its school improvement plan for 2012-2015.
The plan will include a “systematic, big-picture” plan for the system, said Superintendent Cole Pugh. He said some systems operate year-to-year, trying to do the bare minimum to get by, but that isn’t Troup County’s approach.
“I have gone to districts that have a five-year plan they approved, but they didn’t really look at it much till five years later,” Pugh said. “I always like to look at this on an annual basis to adjust and modify as we go along – if you would like to call this a living document.”
District overall goals include making sure students achieve at their highest; providing a safe learning environment; engaging students, staff, families, businesses and community in the process; and maximizing school system efficiency and productivity. Pugh said one new idea included in student achievement is a change in how the school system assesses student and teacher performance.
“Summative assessment is something we’ve done for a long time and we’re pretty good at. That’s the test at the end of the chapter, the final exam, the CRCT test – it’s the culminating activity in some cases, you might call it,” he said. “But we want to start focusing more on formative assessment, which is a quick assessment before the lesson even begins, or as the lesson is being taught, so that teachers can monitor and adjust as they move along.”
Pugh said summative assessments are most common in the U.S., but “we are not very good at formative assessments, and that’s true of schools across the country.”
The school system plan also includes program evaluations, determining what programs are effective. Pugh said that Troup, like most school systems, currently is “not very good at program evaluations.”
The plan also includes goals for evaluating employees, which will align with a new system implemented by the state. Also included are plans to distribute school system information on a wider basis, including using social media.
“This is a very important document for the future of Troup County,” Pugh said.
In another matter, school officials said recent change to state legislation will affect eight full-time teachers. The state in 2002 made a law allowing retired teachers in Georgia to become full-time employees in order to fill a shortage of qualified teachers in the state. The law was to automatically be repealed in 2016, but recently was changed to be repealed June 30, 2013.
The change will not affect 15 part-time teachers who are retired or teachers retired from other states that teach in Troup County.
Board Chairman John Darden said he, board member Ted Alford and Pugh recently met with legislators to talk about the issue. They felt that it will only take away qualified teachers from the schools and interferes with local jobs.
Darden encouraged residents to contact state legislators to tell them what they think of the issue.
In other other business, the board on Thursday is expected to vote on:
•Changes to three board policies: admissions, which clarifies requirements for students moving from other countries; student suspension, which removes policy on hearings that will be crafted into a separate policy; and valedictorian and salutatorian requirements, which will no longer require students to take AP tests that now cost them money, but only the class.
•Purchasing new gym flooring for Hillcrest and Long Cane elementary schools to replace worn out floors at a total cost of $73,632.
•Renewing Symantec Endpoint Protection for 5,600 school system computers at a cost of $38,640.