With graduation in the rear view mirror, administrators updated the Chagrin Falls Board of Education on the district’s achievement of goals in the 2018-19 academic year.

Superintendent Robert Hunt, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Becky Quinn and Assistant Superintendent Lisa Shannon briefed the board on six goals the administration set for the school year at its regular meeting Monday.

Mrs. Quinn said the first goal was to work on developing curriculum maps for kindergarten through 12th grade science and math, kindergarten through eighth grade Project Lead the Way and ninth through 12th grade computer science. Curriculum maps provide staff, parents and students with tangible plans of timelines, units, state standards, vocabulary, assessments and resources for classes and subjects so every class is standardized district-wide, and all curriculum maps completed this year are available on the district website.

“This past school year really kicked off our work in creating curriculum maps with the eventual goal of having curriculum maps in place for all of our grade levels and content areas and all of our courses,” she said. “After each year of curriculum review and refinement, the next year will be curriculum mapping.”

The district’s second goal involved growth and performance in grading practices. Mrs. Quinn said staff members completed book studies on the subject and held a professional development day with a guest speaker this year, with more work and implementation continuing into next school year.

Ms. Shannon gave an overview of goal number three, adopting a systems-based approach to data analysis. She said through collaborators with the county educational service center, district and building leadership teams worked through best practices and protocols for analyzing and leveraging data.

Each building in the district is also refining which benchmark assessment to use, which helps teachers identify how students will perform on state tests and develop individualized plans to help students grow, she said. She said Gurney Elementary School and Chagrin Falls Intermediate School leaders have chosen to give students the iReady benchmark assessments, while the middle school and high school are still determining which assessment to use.

Mr. Hunt said the district’s approach to data including the benchmark assessments has been instrumental to how the district operates.

“It’s a lot of data, we’re very data rich, but I feel like it’s really driving what we’re doing now,” he said. “It is pretty powerful when you think back 10 years ago, we had standards, we had great instruction going on, but it was take the test and cross your fingers and we’ll see what happens when the test comes.”

The district’s fourth goal was improving student health, wellness and safety, Ms. Shannon said. The district is working to unpack the new Ohio Department of Education social emotional learning standards, which are mostly already being met by district practices, and is continuing to expand its Positive Behavior Intervention and Support framework.

Mr. Hunt said the district’s fifth goal, completing the Intermediate School construction project on time and under budget, is near the finish line with the district expected to take over the building on July 31 under budget. The sixth goal of developing a facilities improvement plan is underway with the formulation of a five-year plan in cooperation with the board’s capital planning committee and a master plan expected to be completed in the fall, he said.

“I think the capital committee has worked really hard in understanding where our priorities are and trying to get ahead of things so we’re not always reacting to capital improvements in the district,” Mr. Hunt said. “I think this is really what puts us on a nice path going forward and I also feel like we have a nice system in place now where we’ll monitor and list the progress of the plan as we go.”

All of the district’s goals are a work in progress, Mr. Hunt said, with development and implementation of various programs and practices ongoing.

“I don’t think this is work that we’re done and so we now move on to something else,” he said. “I think a lot of this work will be continued into next year and as we go to retreat and come back to our goals you’ll be able to see some similarities.”

Board member Sharon Broz acknowledged all of the work the district has done, specifically the new initiatives that help give students a better educational experience.

“Sitting here and seeing these conversations year after year now and recognizing how much you all really do strive for continuous improvement, it should be recognized,” she said. “And I feel like everybody works very hard to continue to push forward.”

Tim Tedeschi covers the Solon and West Geauga Board of Education, as well as statewide education issues, sports and features. He is a lifelong diehard Cleveland Indians fan and a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University.

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