Goal-setting has been critical to QCSD's improved performance

Goal-setting has been critical to QCSD's improved performance
Posted on 06/16/2019

Happy Father's Day to all of our Quakertown Dads! Before the morning was over, I heard from both of my children, both living far away - in Washington state and Georgia. Being a Dad is clearly my life's most special blessing. Right after that is having the responsibility of ensuring your children get a high-quality education, and having all of the professional relationships with everyone in Quakertown as your superintendent. The life of being an educator and having the ability to positively impact so many lives is truly a gift to me!

With graduation for the Quakertown Class of 2019 behind us, we are now focused on the 2019-20 academic year and there is lots to be done to get ready for it. At the School Board meeting Thursday night, the Board approved with a vote of 8-1 the district's Superintendent's (Draft) Goals 2019-20. For the past six years, the Superintendent's Goals have been the blueprint for the School Board's priorities with both long and short strategies to accomplish QCSD's vision and mission. Board-approved Superintendent Goals have guided the district to seeing student achievement flourish, dramatically improving college and career readiness, and establishing the Board as excellent stewards of our financial resources, all while sustaining, and even growing, student programs.

Superintendent Goals are developed annually with both a short- and long-term view. Some of the Goals are building blocks for sustaining a culture of continuous improvement, with systems such as the Six-Year Curriculum Cycle. Some other Goals could be called "one and done" objectives, such as facilitating a parent committee's work that eliminated the "open areas" for student elementary and middle school assignments. I believe it is important every school year to have a parent-led community committee examine a topic of critical importance and report out to the Board their recommendations. This past year the community committee's work was about safety. Next year's Goal is looking at school start times. In August, we will be looking for parents to volunteer to do the work, with an outbrief to the School Board by January.

Superintendent Goals are not entirely focused directly on the core classroom, or improving finances and school operations. With the Board's knowledge that student participation in the performing arts and athletics has a significant impact on student achievement in the classroom, for two years Superintendent Goals included improving our district's athletic program. One outcome of that Goal was the design and construction of QNB Bank Field behind the high school. It was a three-year project. Now, we have a quality competition venue for 10 athletic teams and our marching band.

Superintendent Goals are developed from both the Board down and the classroom/building up, and are reported out at mid-year and the end of the academic year. They begin with a collaborative discussion between building and district leaders around where we have been, where we are, and what we need to accomplish to become the best. What guides these discussions are best practices and research and what data analysis of student performance tells us. Throughout the school year, Board members and members of the community talk about things they would like to see or have the administration do. One example that came from the Goals process was this year's MLK Day of Service. For next year, that objective has been expanded to its own comprehensive Domain: Culture of Service, Respect and Diversity. The 2019-20 Goals also include execution of the Community Safety Committee's recommendations to the Board. Through the Superintendent evaluation process last month and subsequent Board Retreat on June 1st, new objectives were added to Superintendent Goals regarding accountability with a different set of student performance metrics. The Board expects us next year to provide more frequent and detailed updates on student achievement. This will provide an excellent opportunity for dialogue about our most important work - improving teaching and learning. These Goals will guide our action planning throughout the summer.

Finally, thank you for your positive response to Dr. Michael J. Bradley's presentation this Wednesday on behavioral health and his book Crazy Stressed. More than 130 parents, teachers, and staff have emailed us of their intent to attend. The presentation is in the Quakertown Performing Arts Center at 9 am. Please join us.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful summer.

Bill Harner

Superintendent, QCSD

Email: wharner@qcsd.org

Twitter: @billharner

New Quakertown Community High School Principal Matt van't Hoenderdaal

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