Tupelo Schools will measure more on goals

Education stockBy Chris Kieffer
Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District will use more objective indicators this year to measure its progress toward district goals.

Its goals include increasing student achievement across the district; providing a safe, secure and orderly environment in all schools; attracting and retaining all stakeholders and maintaining sound financial stability.

They will be measured with such data as student test scores, attendance data, discipline referrals and amount of money kept in the fund balance.

The district presented a draft of its goals and indicators for the current school year during Tuesday’s board meeting. It was based on discussions during the school board’s annual retreat in June.

The draft is expected to be approved at the board’s next meeting in September. The district also will provide board members with a regular report card showing how well it has met its 25 indicators.

Last year, the district refined its goals and added indicators to give it a clearer picture of how well it was doing in meeting them. This year, it refined the process to make those indicators even more tangible.

“I think last year we did a good job of defining our goals and working toward measurable indicators,” said School Board Vice President Rob Hudson. “This year, it allows us to continue with that process. We learned from it and can fine-tune it.”

Hudson said the process will give the board and the district a better sense of how it is doing.

Some of the indicators also call for it to meet various objectives, such as producing National Merit semifinalists, establishing a tracking system of Worker’s Compensation claims and incidents and offering employee health screenings.

They call for the district to undergo a safety and security assessment to get a baseline score of areas that can be improved.

They also stipulate the fund balance must remain above 15 percent of the state and local budgets.

Superintendent Gearl Loden noted the document is still a work in progress.

“I’m excited to see how the goals have developed, especially the indicators,” he said.

TPSD Community Liaison Mary Ann Plasencia said the district has worked this year to make the indicators more focused.

Plasencia and Hudson noted that some areas, like discipline, are more difficult to track tangibly.

The district will attempt to work through that, Plasencia said, by using parent and teacher surveys to monitor the school environment, in addition to a goal of decreasing student referrals.

The plan also calls for board members to get a summary of results from employee exit interviews, a report on recruitment and hiring practices and a summary of major discipline infractions.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com