School strategic plan calls for capital improvement, new grading policy

School strategic plan calls for capital improvement, new grading policy

NORTH PROVIDENCE - After a presentation from Supt. Melinda Smith at a meeting on Dec. 18, School Committee members approved a three-year strategic plan that seeks to raise student test scores, develop a new grading policy and create a five-year capital improvement plan.

The plan was developed in November by a 44-person committee made up of administrators, teachers, parents and community members, who established a mission statement, district beliefs about a student's right to learning and seven targets to reach by 2016.

Each target is supported by specific actions and a time line to keep the plan on track.

Smith said she will provide the School Committee with biannual progress.

"A strategic plan is only as good as its implementation," she said.

A five-year capital plan, based on an assessment of school facilities conducted from Oct. 2013 through March 2014, is part of the strategic plan.

The plan seeks to have a bond referendum and funding approved for facility upgrades by Nov. 2014, with construction to begin on a "new school and/or school building upgrades" in July 2017.

One target aims to see students achieve 70 percent reading proficiency and 100 percent growth by 2016, as measured by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, which replaces the New England Common Assessment Program tests in the next school year. The plan outlines actions that include more accessibility to online practice tests and tools, as well as more professional development. Increasing proficiency also calls to action the Grading Committee - led by Asst. Supt. Lisa Jacques, principals, teachers and parents - who will develop a district-wide grading policy. School Committee member Gina Picard said the group will work with the Rhode Island Department of Education and refer to other communities' policies to establish what a particular grade means.

Curriculum evaluation and revision will also be conducted to align with the national Common Core State Standards.

Those revisions will also be supported by technology needs and implementation, as well as a separate technology curriculum.

To achieve the goal to provide students with "equal access to rigorous, student-centered, data driven instruction," the district plans to: develop a coaching program for teachers; develop enrichment programs and high school virtual learning and Advanced Placement courses; provide teachers with professional development and an opportunity to collaborate.

A goal for parents to increase engagement by 30 percent, as measured by Survey Works, is also included in the strategic plan. Achievement will rely on the plan's outline to simplify and improve the district and schools websites, develop a professional development program to address urban issues, develop academic workshops for parent involvement and providing the community with regular updates through newsletters, websites and social media.