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School improvement plans available for Madison schools

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:19:04 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 16 2013 01:31:53 PM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

Madison School District parents will soon be getting some important information from their schools as part of a strategic vision to improve education.

Superintendent Jen Cheatham has been on the job a little more than seven months, and a big part of her strategic vision for the district comes from targeted school improvement plans, which were due at the end of last month.

Clear and concise summaries of the plans with one goal in mind -- to prepare kids for college, career and community -- will be released to parents by the end of next week.

Parents at Huegel Elementary School have already received a clear outline put together by one of the school leadership teams that started in August for all 49 schools. Plans list a specific path to each school’s success.

“Each plan has a set of measurable goals, both for increasing student achievement for every child but also accelerating achievement for those who need it,” Cheatham said.

Huegel Elementary School Principal Abby Potter said staff at her school hit the ground running with the plan from the first day.

Just before school started, leadership teams from every school came together to forge plans specific to each school asking how they can improve based on the Common Core State Standards.

“Before the kids got here, we sat down to really think about the improvement efforts that we wanted to make,” Potter said. “We use the word focus a lot. One thing the school improvement plans allow us to do is to focus on some high-leverage strategies that we know are going to help our students move forward.”

Cheatham said if schools are going to make the kinds of improvements they are looking for, then each school will have to tackle a few things.

“The school improvement plans were very important for us to create because by having them it allows us to be much more precise in the support we provide individual schools,” Cheatham said.

Cheatham said early report cards on the plans have yielded some positive energy.

“Mainly because they’ve already made a lot of progress, but also because it’s invigorating to be that clear on what you’re going to do as a school to improve school achievement,” Cheatham said.

The plans may have been distributed at parent-teacher conferences, but they will also be posted on each school’s website.

Cheatham said the role of the Central Office is to guide, support and hold schools accountable, to give them support to do their jobs without the micromanaging. The district will also constantly review and revise these plans to make sure they are getting the job done.

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