Parental input needed for DOE District Action Plan - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Parental input needed for DOE District Action Plan

by Jolene Toves

Guam - The Department of Education has high hopes for the proposed District Action Plan to improve student performance. DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez is hoping to have the plan approved by this summer.

The documents document which guides DOE's investments over the next five years is aimed to improve teaching and learning to overall improve student achievement. Fernandez admits it was a cumbersome process. "As we reviewed the last action plan we realized it may be to detailed so that at some point if you missed a few activities you started to see how it impacting other parts of the plan and if fact may have rendered parts of it obsolete," he said.

Moving forward he says the District Action Plan will be used as a guide to ensure it is useful over the next five years and will reflect activities that are already underway. Fernandez says that over the next five years the department is going to work to strengthen the adoption and integration of the standards, which aims to strengthen curriculum, focus on effective teaching, assessment, intervention and overall accountability. Fernandez says parts of the plan is being implemented such as common core standards and will be in full implementation next year.

He explained, "What we are doing with common core state standards is trying to guarantee that every child gets a high quality education based on college and career ready standards so by the time they exit our school system they are ready for post secondary education and that they are ready for the work world."

In order to do that high standards must be set that come to life in the classroom adding that effective instruction is integral and teachers must be supported and given the necessary supplies and resources needed to carry out their work and ensure students reach those standards.

"Right now we are using SAT-10, but we are really looking at a robust way to assessing student progress and to do that not just at the end of the year but through the course of the school year," he said.

Instead of relying on the SAT-10 he wants teachers to be able to identify which students are falling behind and address that before the achievement gap widens. In order to do this, the department is looking at interim assessments called the common formative assessment.

"After a lesson they can go in and figure out if the students really got the material the teachers work with each other and share that data to formulate effective way of teaching so they can try different strategies," Fernandez explained.

In addition to this Fernandez says he wants to focus on accountability so there is a shared ownership throughout the department. "We need to make sure that from the top down that we have a system in place that holds both the superintendent the central offices and our school level employees accountable for student progress," he said.

According to Fernandez parent and student input are valued and will be heard at a series of presentations for the proposed District Action Plan. 

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