By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Wyandotte Public Schools board members and administrators met May 3 to review data showing how well 2015-16 school year goals were being met, and to develop goals for the 2016-17 school year.
Current goals focus on maximizing student achievement, providing enrichment opportunities, ensuring a safe and caring school community, strengthening the district’s financial status and reviewing district policies.
The top five goals for the 2016-17 school year call for increases in achievement in English-language arts and math and in graduation rates, 1-to-1 device usage to enhance learning opportunities and communication, and maintaining a 10 percent school district fund balance.
Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency, which supports Wayne County’s 33 school districts, reported that the Wyandotte School District 2014-15 fund balance was 11 percent, higher than the 7.83 average percentage of all the districts.
In August 2014 the district reported an 83.7 percent high school graduation rate, compared to a rate of 77 percent statewide.
School Board President Stephanie Miello said the school board and district administrators come together once a year to look at goals.
“It’s usually the highlight of our year because we get to collaborate, and work shoulder to shoulder,” Miello said. “It’s livelier, and at the end we try to set the direction.”
Miello said yearly goals set the path so the team knows what it wants to do, and makes long term goals less daunting.
“The intent of this really isn’t to lock us into anything, but to allow us to monitor our progress, and to readjust the trajectory as necessary,” Miello said.
She said this is the first step toward a five-year plan, and it helps to emphasis the things that are important.
Miello said she has taken data the group can understand that shows what the school system is doing, where it is now and where it is headed.
Supt. Catherine Cost said even when the district’s employees are working hard, if the district does not reach its desired academic achievement it needs to change what it is doing.
Miello said there is a lot of data being tracked by the district, and while much of it is important, there are distinct indicators that provide key feedback that is actionable.
Cost urged participants in the study session to use the SWOT approach and identify district strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
After the study session, Trustee Michael Swiecki said the school district offers a premium product and will continue to do so.
“Some of the data we were talking about is there aren’t as many babies being born,” Swiecki said. “Family sizes are smaller. The pool has shrunk. We have to keep being a premium product and maintain that competitive edge. The people who are having babies need to come here.”