Superintendent, school board discusses visions, goals

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School board also assesses themselves

By Stevie Lowery

School starts for local public school students exactly one week from today.

(Yes, school will, indeed, be starting on time. See related story on page A1.)

So, it seems fitting that the Marion County Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Chuck Hamilton spent time last week reviewing and discussing the district's vision and goals during a special called meeting Thursday, July 26. (Board Member Bernard Miles was not in attendance.)

A vision that Dr. Hamilton has for the district is to meet or exceed all state goals for college and career readiness in Kentucky by 2017. In order to make that vision a reality, the district needs to achieve a graduation rate of 100 percent, Hamilton said.

"I think we can achieve that," he said. "I wouldn't make it one of our goals if I didn't think it was achievable. It's not a pie in the sky goal... I see it as being very achievable."

Hamilton also said he believes the district can achieve an attendance rate of 97 percent, a preparation for adult life rate of 80 percent and become one of the top 10 school districts in Kentucky.

Board member Mike Cecil asked Hamilton if he knew the district's current ranking, but Hamilton said he couldn't remember off the top of his head. However, he was certain that Marion County was not currently ranked in the top 10.

Cecil also asked when the 2011-12 test scores would be released. School district officials would receive the results in mid to late September, Hamilton said, and results would be available to the public in October.

"The commissioner has warned us that with the new standards to expect lower scores coming in," Cecil said.


Board team effectiveness assessment

Board members not only discussed their visions and goals for the district during its special called meeting, but also discussed their effectiveness as a board.

Each year, the school board is required to complete a board team effectiveness assessment, and grade themselves on 11 areas - objectives, roles, participation, problem definition, conflict management, personal openness, mutual support/teamwork, follow-up, decision making, planning and delegation.

Overall, the board members gave themselves positive marks.

"I feel as a board we tend to stay on track and we know what our objectives are and we stay there," Board Chairman Michael Mullins said. "We have a difference of opinion on things from time to time... but we keep moving on."

Cecil agreed.

"Sometimes we disagree but we work together well," he said.

Board Member DeLane Pinkston said he thinks the school board meetings are more "concise and to the point" now.

"We've had some difficult situations... but I think we usually do pull together as a team," Pinkston said.

At the end of the discussion, Superintendent Hamilton told board members that he was very impressed with their dialogue.

"I've never seen this done as a discussion," Hamilton said. "I really think that this is the way it was intended to be done."