The Chattooga County Board of Education meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month, with the exception of February, which will be held on February 23, 2017.
(Old Summerville Elementary School)
206 Penn Street
Summerville, GA 30747
EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT
The Chattooga County Board of Education herein establishes an educational accountability and school improvement system based upon the performance of its students and staff and the impact of its educational programs. The accountability system recognizes: the Georgia State Board of Education Long-Term Strategic Plan; and is based upon the Mission Beliefs and Major System Priorities of the Chattooga County Board of Education.
In order to address the challenges and fully implement the vision articulated in the School Board’s Mission and Beliefs, there must be accountability at all levels of the organization to improve student achievement and school effectiveness. Accordingly, this policy describes a comprehensive accountability system for the Chattooga County Public School District.
1. School Board’s Mission Statement
Enable all students to become productive, contributing citizens who can communicate effectively, gather and use information, make responsible decisions, utilize technology, and adapt to the challenges of the future.
2. School Board’s Belief Statements
1. Our students, personnel, and parents deserve a safe, inviting, non-threatening learning environment where they are treated with dignity and respect within an environment that promotes student learning.
2. Teachers, administrators, parents, the community, and students share the responsibility for academic success.
3. Students learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process.
4. The commitment to continuous improvement is imperative if our schools are going to enable students to become confident, self-directed, life-long learners.
5. Student achievement should be the primary focus of all decisions impacting the work of the school.
3. School Board’s Major System Priorities
- Establishing internationally competitive standards for student performance and an accountability system and policy framework designed to insure that all students are challenged individually and collectively to meet more rigorous standards.
- In collaboration with technical colleges, other institutions of higher learning and the local business community, insuring that vocational/technical education programs prepare students for a diverse and technologically rich society.
- Insuring that all students and staff have a safe and secure environment for teaching and learning.
- Attracting, retaining and training the best teachers, principals and support staff.
- Utilizing technology both to improve student achievement and to increase the school district’s productivity and efficiency as a major business enterprise.
- Increasing parental and community involvement through public engagement policies and practices that treat parents, businesses, community-based organizations and agencies, local institutions of higher learning and other public entities as true partners in the educational process.
- Reviewing the potential for utilizing the school district’s existing public education facilities to establish self-supporting community school evening/ week-end education programs for interested Chattooga County adults.
4. Accountability System Purpose, Goal and Objectives
- The general purpose of the Accountability System is to assess the success of the school system by measuring the individual progress of every school in achieving a broad range of student performance indicators and of the district in providing services and resources to schools in an effective and efficient manner.
- The overall goal of the Accountability System is to promote schools’ progress in achieving their educational mission as it relates to the School Board’s Major System Priorities. The objectives of the Accountability System are to: (1) monitor schools’ progress by measuring a standardized set of school performance indicators; (2) determine which schools are meeting the district’s objectives and can serve as models for other schools; and (3) determine which schools are failing to meet the district’s objectives and require additional technical assistance, support and/or intervention.
5. Accountability System Assumptions
The following assumptions under gird the Accountability System:
- School performance is a product of the combined efforts of the School Board and its governance policies, the administration, principals, teachers, support staff, students, parents, businesses and the community.
- Performance is measured against the same high academic standards for all students. All schools are expected to perform at a level that reflects high expectations for students and staff. However, issues beyond the control of schools (e.g., extraordinary mobility; critical overcrowding; increasing number enrollment of students living at or below the poverty level; increasing enrollment of non-English speaking students, some of whom have little or no experience in a formal education setting) should be taken into account in determining school progress.
- School progress is evaluated based on a combination of performance indicators including student achievement, attendance, dropout rates, and additional alternative assessment indicators (e.g., portfolios of student work, post graduation success, enrollment in and passing of advanced placement classes, proactive approach to safety and discipline, etc.). To help achieve school progress, all classroom teachers, other permanent instructional personnel and school-based administrators shall have a portion of their job evaluation based on ongoing documentation of student achievement gains through norm-referenced and criterion-referenced standardized test results, where available, and at least one of the other following assessment strategies selected by the teacher/school-based administrator: student performance demonstrations, teacher observations and/or portfolios of student work. Where the above-referenced standardized student tests are not available, the principal will also select one of the other assessment strategies listed above. It is recognized that standardized test scores can be influenced by a number of factors outside the school setting such as student mobility rates, the number of special needs students, parental support, etc.
- Every school is expected to identify and implement a research-based process for whole school reform/restructuring to achieve improved student performance (e.g., America’s Choice, Coalition of Essential Schools, Learning Focused Schools, Modern Red Schoolhouse, Roots and Wings, Atlas Communities, High Schools that Work or an eclectic approach combining some of these or other research-based models).
- Schools are evaluated on current year performance, as well as two-three year trends.
- Schools with a history of poor performance are expected to make greater progress in improving student achievement, attendance and dropout rates than schools with higher performance on these measures. It may require unequal resources to meet unequal needs of students/schools.
- There are clear incentives and consequences for:
* Schools which demonstrate high levels of performance and/or high levels of progress
* Schools which demonstrate low levels of performance and/or low levels of progress
- A school determined by the Superintendent of Schools to demonstrate low levels of performance and/or low levels of progress is required to develop and implement a written corrective action or restructuring plan, depending on the length of time the school has not met expectations or the severity of a decline in student achievement in any particular area. This corrective action/restructuring plan will become a part of the School Improvement Plan (SIP).
- A school which continues to perform below expected levels of student academic achievement may receive technical assistance from an ad hoc committee of school-based and District personnel appointed by the Superintendent of Schools to:
- Analyze school data and assist the school principal and staff with identification of problems in instruction and/or implementation of school reform strategies;
- Assist the school principal and staff in identifying and implementing professional development, instructional strategies and methods of instruction that are based on scientifically-based research and that are proven effective in addressing specific issues related to low student academic achievement levels;
- Assist the school principal and staff in analyzing and revising the school’s budget to ensure that all fiscal and personnel resources are effectively allocated to strategies and activities most likely to increase student academic achievement; and,
- Seek appropriate technical assistance for the principal and staff from community-based entities external to the School District [such as the Georgia Department of Education, Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), local institutions of higher learning, other public and/or private organizations with the desire and proven ability to assist schools in increasing student academic achievement].
6. Accountability System Guidelines
As the Accountability System is further developed, additional specific initiatives and
guidelines will be formulated to:
- Promote excellence and equity in student performance, as measured by a comprehensive set of valid assessments.
- Provide accurate and timely information about student performance at the school and district levels for full public disclosure.
- Use a clearly defined set of analyses, including research on effective schools, to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of schools’ progress.
- Establish incentives for rewarding schools for innovation and significant improvement in student performance outcomes.
- Establish an effective set of consequences focused on continuous improvement in student performance outcomes.
- Establish and implement a Curriculum Development and Instructional Management (CDIM) System, including an Electronic Planning Tool for use by classroom teachers that links critical content (what students need to know) with essential knowledge (what teachers need to know).
- Establish a Data Warehouse which enables teachers and principals to access data that enables them to focus and report on students’ individual needs and competencies in a timely manner.
- Create a Clearinghouse (virtual) Information Center for use by classroom teachers, principals and other appropriate staff which includes a continuously updated database of available trainers, staff development resource materials, training facilities and research on effective teaching and learning practices.
7. District Strategic Plan
On or before March 15 of each year, in order to ensure that all components of the organization are directly focused on the School Board’s Mission, Beliefs and Major System Priorities, the Superintendent of Schools shall develop for the Board’s review and approval a proposed District Strategic Plan with short and long-term goals for the school system.
8. School Improvement Plans
Each school principal will be responsible for planning, developing and implementing a comprehensive School Improvement Plan (SIP), which includes such specific components as baseline data, educational goals and objectives of the school, indicators of school and student progress, and strategies and evaluation procedures to measure adequate progress for each goal. SIPS will consist of one, two and/or three year objectives with action steps updated annually. Each plan will be based on a comprehensive needs assessment conducted by the principal with the involvement of school and district staff and the community. A standardized Chattooga County Public Schools Needs Assessment will be developed to assess the current status of every school relative to the research-based characteristics of effective schools. Each SIP will include:
- School Mission, Goals and Objectives.
- Necessary baseline data to identify needs.
- Expected student learning outcomes.
- Strategies and timeframes for improvement.
- Participatory management model.
- Issues relative to budget, training, instructional materials, technology, staffing, student support services, and other matters of resource allocation (including waivers needed in existing local, state, and/or federal rules, regulations and policies).
- Necessary training, technical assistance and support to plan, develop and implement school improvement strategies.
- Applications for local, state and federal grants must be tied to SIP objectives or the SIP must be amended after receipt of grant funding. The SIP must show how grant funds will enhance school improvement initiatives either by increasing their scope or shortening the time to meet the objective(s).
- Evidence that a comprehensive School Safety/Security Plan has been developed in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1185. Such plan shall include: daily operating procedures (e.g., school opening and closing, staff responsibilities, bus procedures, incidents and reporting procedures); supervision plans (e.g., hallways, lunchroom, restrooms, bus loading/unloading, playgrounds, athletic events, etc.); emergency plans (e.g., trespassers, physical restraint, evacuation procedures, break-ins, fire drills, student pick-up procedures, etc.); safety/security of students, staff and facilities and property/inventory.
- A comprehensive School Technology Plan reflecting school-wide utilization and integration of appropriate technology into the curriculum as well as infusion of technology into school administration and management.
9. Research-Based Characteristics of Effective Schools
The following describes the Characteristics of Effective Schools which will be used as the basis for the Chattooga County Public Schools Needs Assessment:
A. Clear Mission and Goals/Capable Leadership/Focus on Teaching and Learning
- Clear and explicit school mission and instructional goals widely understood and shared by teachers, students, administrators and parents/community.
- Strong administrative and instructional leadership of principal, assistant principal(s) and teachers – teaching, coaching, consulting, inspiring.
- Collaborative, collegial instructional planning.
- School-wide focus on mastery of basic skills (including computer literacy) and proficiency in higher- order/critical thinking skills.
B. High Expectations for Student Achievement
- Expectations that all children can and will learn at significantly higher levels.
- High expectations for student learning outcomes reflected in curriculum content, scope and sequence.
- Maximized academic learning time.
- Effective and varied strategies to encourage school completion and to avoid retention.
C. Participatory Management and Leadership
- Comprehensive School Improvement Plans (SIP’s) and strategies based on the school’s identified needs, research and potential for successful implementation.
- Collaborative decision-making by school-based staff evident-with important budgetary, personnel and curriculum decisions based on school’s mission/goals and what’s best for students.
D. Parental/Community Involvement with, Support of and Satisfaction with Educational Program
- Meaningful role of parents/community in contributing to students’ learning success.
- Parental/community participation in school planning including determination of school mission/goals and development of comprehensive School Improvement Plan (SIP).
- Parental/community involvement in decision-making.
- Parental/community involvement in preparing children and families for student success in schools.
E. Continuous Assessment of Students, Staff and Program to Evaluate Effects of Instruction
- Authentic assessment of students’ knowledge and educational work products.
- Student achievement data frequently monitored and used both for providing feedback and for evaluating program success.
- Teacher and administrator responsibility and accountability for student performance, instructional management and classroom management.
- School wide recognition of academic success.
F. Staff Effectiveness
- Effective administrative, instructional and non-instructional practices.
- Use of a variety of teaching methods – with emphasis on active participation of students and attention to students’ individual learning styles.
- Staff stability and continuity.
- High staff morale and sense of community in school.
- Low staff absenteeism and turnover.
- Staff empathy, rapport and interaction with students.
- Sensitivity to individual differences and multi-ethnic cultural diversity.
- Student achievement results indicate that students are learning.
G. Safe, Orderly and Disciplined School Climate
- Clear and explicit principles and guidelines for student behavior – developed by school staff and widely understood by teachers, students, administrators and parents/community.
- Firm, fair and consistent enforcement of discipline.
- School wide focus on positive reinforcement of good behavior.
- Low student absenteeism and suspension and expulsion rates.
H. Facilities and Technology
- Clean, safe and attractive facilities and grounds.
- Effective utilization of facilities and technology for increasing student and staff productivity.
- Effective utilization of facilities and technology to enhance and expand access to learning (students) and professional/staff development (staff).
- School wide focus on development of computer literacy for students and staff.
10. Waiver Requests
The School Board will annually consider requests submitted by principals, through the Superintendent of Schools, for waivers of School Board policy and may recommend to the State Superintendent of Schools the waiver of State Board of Education rules or Georgia Statutes required to implement school and/or district-wide improvements.
- A principal wishing to waive a School Board Policy, State Board Rule, designated Georgia Statute, or provision(s) in federal law must submit a written request to the Superintendent of Schools for review.
- Principal waiver requests must be directly related to the School Improvement Plan (SIP). They must clearly address laws/policies that create barriers to successful implementation of the SIP’s objectives. The request must include: (a) citation of the specific Board policy, rule and/or statute; (b) how the statutory purpose/intent will be met; (c) how granting the waiver will assist the school in improving specific student performance outcomes; and (d) how progress in improving student achievement will be evaluated.
- To be recommended by the Superintendent of Schools to the School Board, each waiver request must be (a) approved by a vote of at least two-thirds of all faculty members; (b) reviewed and endorsed by the community at an advertised open meeting; and (c) budget neutral (i.e., able to be funded through normal school budgeting and expenditures).
- Only designated statutes authorized by the Georgia Assembly may be waived. A list of these statutes shall be provided to each school.
- Waivers will be approved for a one-year period, but may reflect a multiyear project.
- A request for continuation of a previously-approved waiver must include an evaluation (including relevant data), which substantiates that the waiver is resulting in improvement of the projected student performance outcomes.
- A Waiver Assistance Panel (comprised of central office and other appropriate staff) will review each waiver request. Recommendations from the panel will be forwarded to the Superintendent of Schools.
- The Superintendent of Schools shall review each waiver request and submit it with a recommendation to the School Board. The Superintendent will not support waivers which do not reflect approval of two-thirds of all faculty members and endorsement by the community at an advertised open meeting and/or those which are not budget neutral.
- The School Board will consider all waiver requests submitted by the Superintendent. The Superintendent may recommend that the School Board request a State waiver if it is required to implement school and/or district-wide improvements.
11. Annual Reports of School and District Progress and Customer Surveys
- Each school year, an individual Annual Report of School Progress will be distributed to the parents of all pupils in the district and to other interested community members. A core part of each report will consist of key local, state and national benchmarks/data elements and a report on the status of School Improvement Plan (SIP) objectives.
- Each school year, an aggregation of all schools’ results and progress will be published in an Annual Report of District Progress. The Annual Report of District Progress will highlight student achievement gains and increased school, department and school system effectiveness, as well as district-wide progress on the School Board’s Major System Priorities.
- Customer Surveys will be conducted periodically to provide feedback to schools, the Superintendent of Schools and the School Board on the perception of students, parents and members of the community regarding school and school district effectiveness.
12. School Councils
The role of the school council is to bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation, to solve difficult education problems, improve academic achievement, provide support for teachers and administrators, and bring parents into the school-based decision-making process. The school council will advise and assist the principal in facilitating the development and monitoring of the progress of the School Improvement Plan. School councils will operate under established administrative guidelines, as determined by the A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, O.C.G.A. 20-2-85, 86. (Amended 5/4/2004).
Each school in the School System shall have a local school council meeting the requirements of state law and operating pursuant to appropriately adopted by-laws.
Whenever a vacancy occurs in the position of principal at a school, the Superintendent shall consult with the school counsel as he/she deems appropriate to assist him/her in making a recommendation to the Board. A vacancy occurs in the position of principal when the position is to be filled from applications submitted to the district and not from a reassignment of existing personnel.
13. School Board Responsibilities
- Review/approve the District Strategic Plan, all School Improvement Plans and all Waiver Requests annually.
- Monitor schools' progress in addressing the School Board's Major System Priorities and School Improvement Plan (SIP) objectives.
- Authorize and facilitate school and district partnerships with parents, businesses, community-based organizations and agencies, local institutions of higher learning and other public entities to improve student achievement and increase school effectiveness.
- Pursuant to the School Board's adoption of the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) Standards for Local Boards of Education, members of the Chattooga County Board of Education recognize the following standards:
- The board of education adopts, focuses, and reviews the district's vision for students.
- The board of education adopts, reviews, and revises its mission statement that defines its work and is parallel to the district’s mission statement.
- The board of education, with Superintendent’s input, annually adopts board and district goals.
- The board of education, upon recommendation of the superintendent, adopts policies and implementation plans to facilitate the accomplishment of stated goals.
II. Systematic Improvement
- The board of education participates in annual training and professional development that meets or exceeds the requirements of Georgia law.
- The board and superintendent participate in a team-building activity focused on assessment of previously adopted goals.
- The board of education and the superintendent use a retreat environment and process to:
- Assess progress made to update and revise action plans to accomplish district's vision/philosophy/goals (see I. of Standards).
- Assess the strengths and improvements needed in the school district.
- Consider any compelling problem(s) or emerging issue(s).
- Study and explore trends, opportunities and anticipated challenges.
- Reflect on the leadership team’s educational and leadership philosophy and performance.
- Review the board and superintendent Standards Process checklist.
* The board and superintendent function as a team to accomplish items one through six.
III. Organizational Structure
- The board establishes and, along with the superintendent, follows local policies, procedures and ethical standards governing the conduct of the board and superintendent.
- The officers of the board of education are elected using the procedures defined in state law and board policy and carryout their duties that are clearly delineated in law or policy.
- The board uses the superintendent as its chief executive officer with full authority to administer district affairs.
- The board organizes and distinguishes its role as a policy-making body from the roles/responsibilities authorized to the superintendent for the administration of the district.
- The board of education and superintendent function as a leadership team, while maintaining careful recognition of appropriate roles and responsibilities.
IV. Board Operations: Policy Development
- The board of education adopts and revises its written policies so that they are clear, up-to-date, and in compliance with the state constitution and state and federal laws.
- The board of education follows policies and procedures for:
- Policy adoption
- Emergency adoption of policy
- Policy dissemination
- Policy repeal
C. The board of education considers the following when it adopts policies:
- The recommendation, usually in writing from the Superintendent
- An opportunity for public review
- The policy will be reviewed periodically
V. Board Operations: Board Meetings
- The board of education develops meeting agendas, posts agendas for public review and conducts its meetings in accordance with the Open Meetings Law (50-14-1).
- Board procedures provide an opportunity, prior to board meetings, for members of the board of education to:
1. Suggest items to be removed from or placed on the agenda and/or
2. Request additional information on an agenda item.
- The agenda provides a sound order of business, including an opportunity to make adjustments to the agenda, which facilitates productive meetings.
- The board of education uses a “consent agenda” procedure when appropriate.
- The agenda is followed, once approved, and the board departs from it only under special circumstances and with concurrence of a majority of its members present.
- The board of education has procedures in place to facilitate public input.
- Board minutes properly record actions of the board.
VI. Board Operations: Personnel
- The board of education oversees the management of the district by employing a superintendent and evaluating his/her performance in providing educational leadership, managing daily operations and performing all duties assigned by law.
- The board of education authorizes the employment, assignment and dismissal of personnel only on the recommendation of the superintendent.
- The superintendent is accountable to the board of education in developing and conducting a fair and equitable evaluation of all personnel in the district.
- The board of education refrains from applying pressure on the superintendent to employ persons on the basis of any criteria other than professional and/or occupational qualifications as defined in currently approved job descriptions.
- The board of education has been trained in the superintendent evaluation process and follows that process for evaluation.
- Periodically, but at least once in any 12-month period, the board of education, using an approved instrument and process agreed upon by the board of education and the superintendent, evaluates the professional performance of the superintendent.
VII. Board Operations: Financial Management
- The board of education provides guidance to the superintendent in developing the budget and:
Conducts pre-budgeting discussions with the superintendent.
May establish specific budget parameters where deemed necessary or appropriate.
Examines allocations as they relate to the board and district goals annually adopted.
- The board of education receives the draft budget from the superintendent and after careful study gives tentative budget approval.
- The board of education publishes the budget and provides opportunity for public review and reaction.
- Once a budget that incorporates sound business and fiscal practices is approved, the superintendent implements and administers the budget.
- The board of education, by policy, establishes the level of spending beyond the budget for which the superintendent must seek board approval.
- The board of education receives monthly financial reports on the status of the budget.
- The board of education’s financial records are audited annually.
VIII. Board/Staff/Community Relations
- The board of education and individual board members maintain an appropriate and professional relationship with the superintendent, staff and community.
- The board of education recognizes and protects the concept of chain of command.
- The board of education works with the superintendent to provide and follow a process, when it is appropriate, that encourages and seeks the input of staff at all levels of decision-making on significant issues.
- The board of education periodically receives input from citizens on matters relating to the school district.
- The board of education working with the superintendent seeks advice and communicates with the community through:
1. Providing leadership, policies and training to school councils.
2. Collaboration agreements with local and state agencies.
3. Community groups, community forums and media.