The Mansfield School Committee is already looking into requirements for the Race to the Top school mandate concerning school goals and goal evaluation.
While Mansfield is not yet required to adhere to the program’s initiatives, Mansfield is pushing forward and starting early to get in gear before the fall of 2013.
“Not in a race to the top district but we’re starting early,” superintendent of Mansfield schools Brenda Hodges.
Michael Gilbert, of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, presented the initiative plans for goal evaluation to adhere to MCAS requirements and other state and federal education mandates.
The first thing he talked about was instituting “smart goals” which have a process of evaluation that requires concrete initiatives and benchmarks of progress during conception, implementation and final evaluation of said goals. He said that comparing it to a new year’s resolution goal.
“I will lose weight and get in condition; this is a goal statement, not a smart goal,” he said. “There’s no mention of how I get there. Between March 15 and Memorial Day I will lose ten pounds and be able to run one mile nonstop. That’s a great example of taking an overarching goal and turning it into a smart goal.”
He said that starting the process begins before the budget is passed in town.
“If I don’t put the money in the budget how can I expect the superintendant to achieve the goal?” he said.
Mansfield’s budget has been a source of contention over the past few years, and the school district was caught in the middle of it.
Because of a state mandate, Hodges said that school districts will have to close the achievement gap, which is a disparity in student performance because of between the performance of groups of students, especially groups defined by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, by half in the next six years.
“This is a new accountability… it’s really now is focused on closing that achievement gap,” she said. “Supports are what we need to be able to move that. To provide those supports we’re going to need more money in the budget… that has to be one of our goals.”