It's Full Speed Ahead with Education Planning for '98-'99

Article excerpt

Byline: Marvin Edwards

All the signs are there. First semester final exams are over, report cards have been sent home, parent/teacher conferences are scheduled and second semester classes have commenced.

Indeed, although it's hard to believe, we are halfway through another school year.

That means schools will start preparing students for the spring testing season when ITBS and IGAP exams are given. Students and staff soon will be focused on the promise of spring break. And parents will start thinking ahead about ways to keep their youngsters busy during summer vacation.

Meanwhile, a lot of behind-the-scenes work will be under way to get ready for the 1998-99 school year. That's right. Although we are still in the middle of one school year, it's time to begin preparing for another.

While there are many promising and exciting moments still remaining in 1997-98, readers should hear about the efforts that go into gearing up for a year of learning because there are opportunities for involvement and input in the process.

First, based on a lot of advice and review from various groups, a proposed calendar for 1998-99 has been developed. It will be voted on at the Feb. 2 meeting of the board of education. Public comments are always welcome.

Major planning for next year's program and budget will start next month, beginning with the board's review of the results of a massive data collecting effort by the staff. The project was designed to help policy makers establish priorities in their ongoing responsibility to set goals for and appraise the performance of the superintendent.

Included in the material are items such as achievement trends, enrollment data, financial forecasts, instructional program reviews and the impact of recent state education legislation.

With direction from the policy makers in hand, district staff will begin developing program plans and related budget requests. Such priorities also will be felt at the local level as staff and parents work together to fashion school improvement plans for their campuses.

Accompanying activities also will take place. For example, elementary principals are already projecting teacher needs for next year based on January enrollments. Their figures will be fine-tuned again after kindergarten roundup enrollment programs are completed.

In February, middle and high school principals will meet to determine instructional needs based on student course selections already made for next year. And special program administrators, particularly in areas such as bilingual and special education, will project expanded program needs.

These annual adjustments, along with the anticipated addition of another 1,000 students for the third year in a row, make careful staff planning a critical task. Our human resources office already is recruiting new teachers, and soon will go to work filling slots not taken through internal transfers. …