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Associate Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Walt Wilcox began the meeting by explaining the new stakeholder committee groups and how they were formed. Part of the reason behind the new committees came as a response to employee surveys. He explained that the group’s work during the upcoming year won’t necessarily pick up where the now-dissolved standing committees left off, but instead will chart their own path. Wilcox also explained how this committee will assist on Curriculum & Instruction tasks and could serve as a recommending body to Cabinet. The group then reviewed operating norms and procedures.
During the first meeting several topics were introduced that have been worked on at the C&I level. The first items that were discussed were the new District Strategic Goals and Strategies. Wilcox pointed out that three of the goals are C&I-focused. Wilcox summarized the graduation rate, student preparation goal, the NWEA reading-level goal, and the accountability model goal.
Next, Wilcox distributed a Wyoming Content and Performance Standards talking points document. The document highlights the benchmark standards in the nine content areas. Wilcox informed the committee that the District is in the process of moving away from the Body of Evidence system and developing a comprehensive district assessment system. That system has not been developed yet. The document also highlights the implementation deadlines in the different content areas. The group shared thoughts that while the District is beginning to be prepared for a standards-based structure, we do not have all the systems in place yet. Wilcox said that the early data pieces show the same conclusion – that the District has a ways to go. One suggestion to help the District arrive at that place was to bring in specialists to help guide the work.
Curriculum & Instruction Executive Director Kelly Hornby began the discussion on the next topic – K-12 Transformation. Hornby said at this time we’re focusing on the 9-12 grades, with a secondary focus on grades K-8. Hornby also spoke about some of the other efforts in this area, including: developing a common high school schedule and working to align new standards with curriculum. Wilcox mentioned that the transformational aspect of this topic truly speaks to NCSD’s strategic goal #1. Next, the group gave their opinions on whether students are indeed leaving NCSD prepared for the 21st century. Committee members said this tends to not be the case, based on anecdotal evidence that they shared.
Next the group discussed the Developmental Kindergarten program and the future options for possibly expanding that program. Committee members lauded the program. Dr. Dean Braughton, Director of Student Support Services said there are groups of children that can easily be identified as future dropouts because of their regular appearances at the Student Support Suspension Lab.
Next, Ted Hanson, Director of Special Services, spoke about the increase in physical incidents in schools. Hanson spoke about the work that has been done to identify resources nationwide that would provide support and training for teachers in the behavior and social skills classes. Hanson was specifically talking about training in the special education arena, and it was brought up in the committee that there is a need for this district-wide, with all students.
A posted item on the agenda – Cut Policy, Articulation and Undue Influence – will be given a top spot on the next meeting’s agenda. Work around these topics started last spring.
Next, the committee took comments/suggestions from employee representatives: