The Port Washington Board of Education discussed narrowing its goals for the upcoming school year Tuesday night, creating a tentative list of goals that focuses on district excellence, the fostering of a positive school culture and working with parents and families.
Last year’s goals included supporting the social, emotional and physical well-being of all students and staff, supporting a learning environment, curriculum and extracurricular activities that allow all students to flourish, developing a long-term sustainable budget plan and a five-year strategic plan, and supporting the hiring, retention and professional of staff.
Superintendent Michael Hynes said the 2022-2023 goals were helpful in setting the tone for the school year.
He said that while the board is pleased with its goals last year and may drop one, it does not mean that those initiatives will be abandoned altogether.
He suggested that the goals be approached differently this year, though. He said what could be done collectively is by defining what excellence is and how that looks in different areas of the school district.
“So if we’re going to strive for something I think we need to have a common understanding of what that actually means and then plan for that accordingly,” Hynes said.
He also suggested the goals be narrowed down from the previous school year’s six to only three goals. He said this may allow the board to focus better and spend more time on the three goals.
Hynes provided three suggestions for the board’s goals.
First, he said there is a lot the Port Washington School District can continue to learn to better itself, which can be learned from other school districts locally and nationally. He asked the board to consider this task in researching other practices of school districts to then apply to the Port Washington School District.
Hynes also suggested that the board updates its strategic plan to shift and tweak the district’s focus.
Lastly, he suggested that the board define, commit to and increase a positive school culture and climate.
He said if the board is on the same page and considers these three initiatives, then it will provide them a launching pad to move forward through research, application and execution of actions.
Trustee Adam Block said he agrees the goals should be reduced to prevent the growth of an overwhelming number of goals.
Block said that many individuals in the school district think about success in applying for colleges, so he suggested this be a measure of the district’s performance.
Vice President Julie Epstein also agreed that the board’s goals could be reduced and is okay with the three goals that Hynes suggested. She said she liked the goals he had suggested as the board’s discussions on ideas for the school district could fall within them.
President Adam Smith said that he likes Hynes’ suggestion and would like to create 3-5 goals that are more specific. He said this will make it easier when evaluating the results within the school district.
The Board of Education discussed its goals at length for the 2023-2024 school year. The purpose of these goals is to set a framework for the upcoming school year that Hynes will reference when establishing his district goals.
The Board of Education tentatively proposed three goals: strive for excellence for our students, staff and community, continue to create and strengthen a positive school culture among our students, staff and community, and communicate and partner with parents and families.
The board plans to circulate its goals to finalize language and tweak them before finalizing them for the school year. Smith said it is the board’s hope that its goals will be finalized by the next board session.
The Board of Education also approved its procedure for implementing a student representative and garnering student feedback.
Hynes suggested that a senior representative work with Schreiber High School principal Kathryn Behr to present relevant information about the high school to the Board of Education.
The senior representative would be a rotating position with a different senior reporting to the board each month.
There would also be round table sessions with students approximately 3-4 times a year.
Assistant Superintendent Christopher Shields provided the district’s enrollment report at the meeting. He said the district has 375 children enrolled in kindergarten for the 2023-2024 school year.
He said there is no concern for too large of class sizes with the incoming kindergarten class.
The Port Washington Board of Education will meet again at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22.