OP-ED: What I Learned at ‘Summer School’

Editor’s Note: The following is an op-ed by Framingham School Committee member Scott Wadland, who is also a candidate for the City School Committee in District 3. Candidates are allowed to submit op-eds and letters to the editor under the Framingham Source election policy.

This past weekend, I joined School Committee members from across the state for the 2017 Summer Institute hosted by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC).  This learning program was designed to prepare School Committee members like myself for success in the upcoming school year.  

From each session there were many key points that I captured and will be considering as we start another school year later this month and as we plan to transition to a new 9-member School Committee in January of 2018.  Given the number of session topics and takeaways, I will be breaking this letter up into several sections to be published over the next few weeks.

This Week – Working Toward Continuous Improvement: Goal Setting and Monitoring

One of the biggest responsibilities of the School Committee is to define the vision and mission for the Framingham Public Schools and to set goals for the district.

 

 These goals should then be used to drive the work of the district and should provide a framework for evaluating progress.  I have done similar strategic planning in my professional career and as a member of the Framingham Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC), but this session highlighted for me that:

  • It’s critical that district-level goals tie back to the overall vision and mission of the Framingham Public Schools; if we come up with goals that don’t tie back then we need to consider broadening our vision and mission or we need to re-examine if those goals make sense.  In my professional career I have done formal mapping from Vision to Mission to Goals; this has proven to be very useful and is something we should be doing as a committee.
  • In addition to goals for the district, the School Committee should define yearly goals for ourselves (as a whole and individually) so that we continually improve how we function as a team.
  • Goals should be defined (and measured) by outcomes, not activity; it’s easy to be very busy without being very effective.
  • Measurement criteria and a timeline for evaluation are key and should be built into the goals themselves.

 

Goal setting and monitoring is a foundational activity for the School Committee so there is much more that I could expand upon, but in the interest of brevity I will leave the discussion there for now.  If you would like to discuss this or any other topic, feel free to reach out to me at scott.wadland@gmail.com.

Coming up Next Week – School Finance and Budgets 201: Beyond the Basics

Respectfully submitted,

Scott Wadland

Candidate for Framingham School Committee – District 3

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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