Education

Key themes highlighted in district, school improvement plans 

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 12, 2017 9:25 am

QUINCY -- A sense of repetition highlighted work toward reaching goals in Quincy Public Schools.

The Curriculum Committee reviewed the 2017-18 QPS district improvement plan Monday night, then heard from school administrators or teachers at each level -- from Quincy High School to the Early Childhood and Family Center -- about details of the school improvement plans.

When Dewey Principal Brad Funkenbusch outlined his school's plan, Madison Principal Jim Sohn said his building's plan was very similar.

"It should be if we're all following the same goals," committee Chairman and School Board member Sheldon Bailey said.

The district's plan stresses five pillars -- engaged students, collaborative teachers, a standards-based instruction system, student growth and active partnerships -- as a way to meet the mission of educating students and achieving personal excellence among teachers. Individual schools set goals within each pillar and look at data collection, student performance measures, adult practice measures and implementation tasks for ways to meet the goals.

Building the individual plans is important because "that way no one gets left behind," Bailey said. "Every student, every school, every teacher, every support staff member moves forward and upward toward those pillars."

Key themes noted in the school improvement plans included:

º Having students set their personal growth goals  -- and how key that is to achieving their growth.

º Giving teachers the opportunity for peer observation and feedback. One suggestion from ECFC calls for kindergarten teachers to visit preschool classrooms to see what's coming to them, much like preschool teachers visited kindergarten classrooms last year to see the next step for students.

º Working to meet social-emotional needs of students at all levels. Quincy Junior High Assistant Principal Kim Dinkheller said social-emotional learning is a key piece for growth of middle school students. "You have to have some social-emotional supports in place before you can get the real strong academic learning," she said.

º Emphasizing school attendance. "The driver for all of that is just to be there," committee member Mary Christensen said, which emphasizes the district's work this year to boost attendance and lower truancy rates.

"We have to do our job," ECFC Director Julie Schuckman said. "It starts with us."

Seeing how the goals align from the district level to the individual schools also helps to have a cohesive effort across QPS.

"We know it's best for children (when) we provide opportunities that are coherent and aligned so our children can grow as they make their way through the system," said Carol Frericks, QPS director of student services.