By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Superintendent Anthony Pope shared a draft version of a five-year strategic plan for the Marlborough Public School System at the School Committee's Sept. 13 meeting. Pope asked the members to look at the “Believe 2016” plan and focus on the structure objectives for Goal I.
“The plan defines a bold pathway toward excellence for all of our students, and only together will we be able to deliver on it,” he said, stressing the need for the group's help and participation. “It will be hard work, but we will see instructional growth, student achievement, district successes and community pride as we move forward.”
Pope and the team of administrators have identified a set of shared core values that defines the work on behalf of city children.
“We have refined our focus on the instructional core, the essential work of teaching and learning,” he said.
They have also developed goals to increase success for all students and are mapping a preschool-through-graduation curriculum framework that will provide the best instruction possible to each student, he added. Among programs planned are: dual language programs, an International Baccalaureate program and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Early College High School (ECHS), which has begun for sixth-graders at the 1LT. Charles W. Whitcomb School and ninth-graders at Marlborough High School. Plans are to add new grades each year until the program houses students in grades six through 12.
The local STEM ECHS program is part of a national initiative of more than 200 similar schools that provide students with access to both high school and college credit. It combines a rigorous program with intense academic support in a personalized environment designed to increase success for all students, especially those whose access to a traditional college pathway may be limited.
In preparation for creating the new strategic plan and to become the “world class” school district Pope envisions, he noted, “we needed to understand our strengths so we could build on them, identify areas for improvement, and develop a roadmap that will prepare all students for life and work in the 21st century. The main objective is to support the “instructional core” and make all ready for consistency, direction and success for all students.”
Pope said he wants to be sure all are on the same page with the plan – members of the School Committee, the team of administrators, and teachers – before rolling out “Believe 2016.” The open dialogue planning includes cycle and one-on-one meetings with the School Committee – all designed to encourage feedback. He expects to have all reviews completed, data gathered and incorporated in the document in October, when it will be shared with city officials, parents and the entire community. The structure will include a public access website that says “Strategic Plan” where all can click on the document. It will be updated every year and sooner if necessary, Pope said.
The First Day of School Program was very successful and was reported to the School Committee in a slide presentation by Communications Liaison Beth Wagner. Included were new staff orientation, Open Door Days, the a cappella choir and other events at the high school, and professional development for administrators.