Summit School Board sets the agenda for next year |

Summit School Board sets the agenda for next year

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KEYSTONE ” Summit School District’s Board of Education has its eyes trained on Summit High School and Summit Middle School when it looks ahead to the 2005-2006 school year.

The district’s two biggest schools took center stage in discussions at the board’s daylong June retreat Monday, during which board members brainstormed their top priorities and issues.

Board members agreed that parents and the greater community generally think highly of Summit School District’s six elementary schools, but public perceptions of the high school and middle school aren’t as rosy.

Some of the schools’ image problems aren’t grounded in what’s really going on in SMS and SHS classrooms, they said, but there is room for reform in both buildings.

“High schools in general don’t work as well as they should,” board member Stuart Adams said.

Among top concerns for SHS are balanced class sizes across the spectrum of student ability.

Several board members felt course offerings for accelerated students are so plentiful that middle-of-the-road students could be getting short-changed.

Currently, top students can choose from among four advanced, honors-style programs.

“What are the impacts of all these programs on middle learners?”

asked board member Jon Kreamelmeyer. “In my mind, we’ve left them a little out to dry as a result of class size.”

The board also hopes to examine successful high-school reform models, like the “small- school” concept and to focus on the high school’s alternative learner programs and its eligibility requirements for extracurricular activities.

At SMS, the top priorities for next year include continued focus on the school’s climate and the ongoing implementation of the full-school International Baccalaureate (IB) Program.

“I think we still need to work on the climate at the middle school,” said board member Erin Major. “My children have had no climate issues, but some have had terrible ones.”

Districtwide, the board will dig deeper into its character education initiative and its exploration of alternative school-year calendars that could boost learning.

Both topics will be subjects of town-hall style meetings, during which the board will encourage widespread public participation and input.

Within character education, sportsmanship will be a hot topic.

“The sportsmanship issue needs to be addressed before the first game,” Kreamelmeyer said.

The board also will examine and re-evaluate its strategic plan, with particular emphasis on its goals for student academic achievement.

Currently, the plan calls for 85 percent proficiency in all CSAP-assessed subjects and a 95 percent graduation rate by the end of next year.

In their fall retreat, board members will discuss whether those goals are meaningful and achievable measures of success.

“It’s great to have that goal if you can get everyone up to that point. But if you can’t visualize it happening, it might be the wrong goal,” Kreamelmeyer said.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 203 or

– High school reform: master schedule, balanced class sizes, alternative learners, inventory of advanced programs, examination of reform models

– Summit Middle School: climate, full-school IB instruction, task force results, two separate learning communities

– Elementary schools: IB Primary Years Program, school-specific needs

– Character education, including sportsmanship, setting measures and benchmarks, staff development

– Re-evaluation of three-year strategic plan, with particular attention to goals for academic achievement

– Monitoring progress of special programs, including the International Baccalaureate Program, ACE gifted and talented program, special education, dual language instruction, English Language Acquisition

– School-year calendar

– Student assessment

– Early childhood education, including funding for full-day kindergarten

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