The Arlington School Committee is participating in the District Governance Support Project, a joint project with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. A product of this work was the Overarching Goals of the Arlington Public Schools, which we adopted at our September 27 meeting.
All goals are not created equal. I look at Goal 1 as the heart and soul of the document; the rest is commentary. Goal 1 takes ownership of our diploma, ties our mission to our expectations for students when they walk across the stage. Everything else is derived from this vision. In fact, one sentence says it all.
The school committee “will ensure that every graduate is prepared to enter and complete a post-secondary degree program, pursue a career, and be an active citizen in an ever-changing world.”
Goal 1 starts to describe what we will do to achieve this goal, and begins the commentary from the core statement. How will we ensure we meet our commitment to our students? “By offering a rigorous, comprehensive, standards-based and data-driven K-12 system of curriculum, instruction, and assessment that integrates social, emotional and wellness support.”
The remaining three goals are the broad levers of change; things we must do in order to meet the core commitment we make to our students in Goal 1. Goal 2 commits us to supporting our educators. We can’t achieve excellence for our students without excellent teaching, and we need to support our professional staff. Goal 3 focuses on providing the resources that our educators need to do this important work. Goal 4 is essential because we are a public school district, and we cannot be successful in our mission without the support of the entire community.
As the committee moves forward, the Overarching Goals must play a central role in our work. The school committee must frame its work from the perspective of these goals. Do our budgets support these goals? Do our policy decisions support these goals? As we craft an agenda for our meetings, are we using our time strategically in support of these goals?
This also becomes an important framework for the community to evaluate the work of its school committee. Here’s the full text of our Overarching Goals.
OVERARCHING GOALS OF THE ARLINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Overarching goals provide a broad vision for the school district, are strategic in nature, define the district’s hopes and dreams for its students, articulate the district’s top priorities, and generally are achievable within a ten-year period. Overarching goals guide the development of annual district goals developed by the Superintendent and approved each fall by the School Committee.
Goal One – Student Achievement
The Arlington Public Schools will ensure that every graduate is prepared to enter and complete a post-secondary degree program, pursue a career, and be an active citizen in an ever-changing world by offering a rigorous, comprehensive, standards-based and data-driven K-12 system of curriculum, instruction, and assessment that integrates social, emotional and wellness support.
Goal Two – Staff Excellence and Professional Development
The Arlington Public Schools will recruit, hire, retain, and build the capacity of a diverse staff to be excellent teachers and administrators by providing high quality professional development aligned to needs, instructional support, coaching, and an evaluation framework that fosters continuous improvement.
Goal Three – Resources, Infrastructure and Educational Environment
The Arlington Public Schools will offer a cost effective education that maximizes taxpayer dollars and utilizes best practices, academic research, and rigorous self-evaluation to provide students and staff the resources, materials and infrastructure required for optimum teaching and learning in a safe and healthy environment.
Goal Four – Operations, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
The Arlington Public Schools will be run smoothly, efficiently and professionally. The district will operate transparently and engage in effective collaboration and responsive communication with all stakeholders. It will provide timely, accurate data to support financial decision making, envisioning of the district’s future, and long range planning in partnership with other Town officials. Through these actions it will create broad support for a high quality education system, that is the communities most valuable asset.
The goals shall be revised from time to time by the School Committee to reflect the changing strategies of the Arlington Public Schools
BDFA-E-2, District-Wide Goal Setting and Performance Objective Process
CBI, Evaluation of the Superintendent
Adopted: September 27, 2012
Arlington Public Schools