The Hopkinton School Committee laid out its goals for the 2019-20 school year during its Sept. 19 meeting. The goals include supporting the rapid enrollment growth, documenting School Committee practices and procedures, and streamlining roles and responsibilities.
School Committee chair Meena Bharath presented the second draft of the School Committee’s goals, getting feedback from all the members.
“As part of best practices and to give a focus and bring some assessment of how we are doing as a committee,” Bharath said of the development of the goals for this year.
The first goal is to develop a support plan for the growth in the district:
- The rapid and unprecedented growth in the district has brought forth needs which must be fulfilled to maintain a quality learning environment. The School Committee will support short- and long-range growth-related needs (facilities and other) but working with the Superintendent and engaging the community in dialogue in the planning process.
Bharath said that some of the measurements of achievement for this goal will be to support the superintendent in communicating needs to the community, to participate in discussions with town leaders and planned public forums and assist in the planning process for long-range facilities needs.
“We are already in a reactionary, catch-up mode,” she said. “We have work to do in this area.”
The second goal is regarding School Committee practices and procedures:
- Standardize and document School Committee practices and procedures. Standardize and document 2-3 policies by the end of 2019-20 school year.
“This is more about looking at best practices of other districts and standardizing and document some of the knowledge that we have,” Bharath said. “This would be extremely important for a new member.”
“I think having best practices written down is a good idea,” commented School Committee vice chair Nancy Richards-Cavanaugh.
The third goal is related to School Committee efficiency:
- Improve School Committee efficiency and respect members’ time commitments by planning ahead and streamlining roles and responsibilities across subcommittees, liaison roles, working groups, etc.
Bharath said the main focus of this goal is to make sure that each member has plenty of notice for events, meetings and forums.
“If we know ahead of time, rather than things happening in the moment, it is helpful,” she said.
Several School Committee members agreed that the goal should continue into this school year.
“We are already benefitting from it,” commented Amanda Fargiano.
The fourth goal has to do with learning:
- Identify and invest time and effort to improve awareness on topics of importance for the School Committee for 2019-20 such as growth, diversity, finance terminology, best practices, etc.
“Learning as a committee about best practices from other districts,” said Bharath, who added that the committee would endeavor to take a deeper dive into some of the important topics that affect the district.
Fargiano suggested that the committee cover two or three manageable topics for the year, and the rest of the committee agreed.
After a lengthy discussion about a draft goal regarding the committee overseeing standardizing reporting by the district to the School Committee, the goal was taken off the list.
The committee also agreed to have a self-assessment and get feedback from the community and district as to how it is performing.