Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Schools' chief faces tough goals

Superintendent, board, staff drew up wide range of objectives

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        From restructuring high schools to implementing a new teacher-evaluation system, this year's work plan for Cincinnati Public Schools' superintendent is a long one.

        The goals — on which Superintendent Steven Adamowski will be evaluated — are specific. They are part of a strategic blueprint to make the district a leader in student achievement and staff performance.

        The list was developed by Mr. Adamowski and Board of Education members, as well as district staff.

        Many of the items — such as conducting an audit of special-education programs and high school restructuring — are under way.

        Others, including developing an approach to recruiting new principals, will be researched and implemented this year.

        “What we try to do in proposing these is to create a challenging list that would stretch us, but not one that is totally unrealistic,” Mr. Adamowski said.

        “My sense is that if we can do 80 to 90 percent of this well, we would have had a good year and made progress.”

        Board member John Gilligan said the public should be aware of the time board members spent on the plan.

        It was developed during several meetings with Mr. Adamowski, held since the summer.

        “If Dr. Adamowski is successful and we're successful in getting this done, we will see a lot of benefits,” Mr. Gilligan said.

        Board member Lynn Marmer said the work plan also keeps a promise to voters.

        “This is a reflection of what we talked to the public about during the levy campaign,” she said.

        Voters approved the district's request for a 6-mill levy Nov. 7.

        Mr. Adamowski's work plan focuses on seven key areas:

        • Standards. Create standards for administrators, non-classroom positions and schools that use the team-teaching method.

        • Accountability. Redesign three to four failing schools. (Burton, Central Fairmount and Rockdale were chosen.) Provide intervention teams to eight low-performing schools. Conduct and implement audit of special-education programs. Evaluate Safe and Drug Free Schools program.

        • School Restructuring. De velop models for schools as community learning centers, full-year schools, and gifted education. Implement four more team-based schools.

        • Teacher and Principal Quality. Develop principal recruitment, evaluation and compensation plan. Implement teacher pay-for-performance plan.

        • Early Literacy/Math. Develop ways to assist primary grade students in reading and math. Provide opportunities for students to show their skill in reading and math standards.

        • Facilities Improvement. Develop a districtwide preventive maintenance program. Implement a facilities improvement plan. Complete renovations of Western Hills High, Porter and Roll Hill schools.

        • Student Based Budgeting/Equity. Switch to on-line purchasing. Refine student-based budgeting.


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