Superintendent Donna Hargens made a new commitment to the community at last week’s school board meeting. It seems to have gone unnoticed in the broader media, but I think it’s important.
In her opening remarks Dr. Hargens announced that henceforth she would report to the board and community, at every board meeting, on a subject directly related to improving student achievement. She then proceeded to give an example by reviewing the metrics she uses to determine whether schools are making progress toward their turnaround goals — data that District leadership receives regularly, between the annual exam scores that drive State assessments of school performance. Examples include attendance and suspension data, results of interim “formative” assessments of student learning, and feedback from Assistant Superintendents on how the “Professional Learning Community” model is being implemented by school.
In my view this is an important step. The District needs to communicate to the community the changes it’s implementing to improve student performance and whether these changes are working. Board meetings provide regular opportunities to share data and transparent, non-defensive analysis. It strikes me as an important step that Dr. Hargens plans to use the “bully pulpit” that these meetings provide to focus on what really matters: How our kids are learning.