Bloomingdale Interim Superintendent Frank Buglione discussed three main district goals for the school year at Tuesday's board of education meeting, which include enhancing instruction and curriculum, teacher evaluations and facilities.
The first goal is focused on raising achievement levels on the NJASK in all grade levels.
“The district goals are really about teaching and learning — the heart of what we should be focusing on here in the school district,” Buglione said.
“I think we had a lot of input from principals and board members, staff members, in terms of what we need to do to really raise the achievement level of our students. That’s the bottom line and what we’re all about here,” he said.
The district will be updating the curriculum to reflect New Jersey core curriculum content standards, as well as new core standards developed by a coalition of 46 states. Buglione also plans to improve the basic skills program for students who are not reaching their potential achievement level. He said the board decided to have one person be directly responsible for curriculum.
“We’re all responsible, but somebody who will help us update that and who will help us improve instruction in the classroom, because that’s where the rubber meets the road,” Buglione said.
Another focus is professional development for staff, including ongoing reading and writing workshops that began last year to improve delivery of instruction. Buglione said they will have a new and consistent focus on needed skills. Bloomingdale is partnering with Butler and Riverdale school districts to share the cost of workshops and staff development.
“Part of the workshops we’re doing with Butler, in our partnership of sharing and collaboration, is really helping us in that regard,” Buglione said. “We need to do more of that and focus on the results. I’ve asked all the principals to be here and be part of that to share that, and our curriculum supervisor.”
Samuel R. Donald Elementary School Principal Sherri Glaab was present at the board meeting and said adult learning is one of her priorities this year.
“We’re trying to raise the bar in our teaching strategies and skills,” she said.
Buglione said a presentation will take place on Nov. 5 to examine district test results from last year and allow Bloomingdale to compare scores with similar districts and also with the state to help clarify where improvement is specifically needed.
“What that’s all about is to really take a look at those results and say, 'What do we need to do to improve?'" Buglione said. "There’s always room for improvement. We’ll be working with the teachers this year to try to raise that achievement."
The district also must follow a state initiative this year to adopt a new model for teacher and principal evaluations based upon test results. Buglione said that, as part of that measure, an assessment needs to be done. Bloomingdale and Butler are partnering on this project and have formed a district evaluation advisory committee made up of teachers, administrators, board and parent representatives.
Board president Lauren Grecco reported that she attended the evaluation committee meeting where two framework models were introduced — the Strong model and the Danielson model. She said the process was "eye-opening," and expects the committee to select a model by their next meeting in Butler on Nov. 12.
“We will be very close to choosing a model that both districts will be adopting,” Grecco said. “It’s great to hear the dialogue that goes back and forth between the two districts. It really is very eye opening and enlightening to be able to sit there, as a board member and watch this process.”
The third goal involves school facilities and infrastructure. Buglione said they are looking at a possible construction referendum for improvement of facilities that will “get into the nuts and bolts of what things we need to improve in the buildings.”
Bloomingdale will also be undergoing NJQSAC monitoring on Jan. 9, which is done every three years. As a prelude, the district is gathering information to submit to the state in five different areas — instruction, fiscal management, governance, personnel and operations. They will also submit a district performance review and statement of assurances. The state will score the district in each of the five areas to determine the performance designation. Buglione is optimistic.
“I think we’re gonna do very well,” he said. “Were working hard to make sure we get everything up to snuff. We need to achieve a score of at least 80 percent in each of those five areas to be approved by the state as a high-performing district, and I think we will be able to do that.”
The board approved the goals during Tuesday's meeting.