Superintendent, school board review districtwide policies

June 3, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Issaquah School Board members finished up a their annual retreat with Superintendent Steve Rasmussen on May 4.

The meeting at the district administration building was open to the public.

“The retreat provides an extended period of time with the board to discuss the governance process and student learning goals — those really important, broad items that do not easily fit into a regular meeting agenda,” Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail. “It’s an opportunity to have a thoughtful, creative, in-depth conversation.”

“The purpose of the retreat is for the board to monitor our own policies as part of our regular board meetings, monitor the superintendent and the district’s performance as related to our board End Statements that we established,” Board President Suzanne Weaver said. “It is also a chance for the board to review how we interact with each other and how we interact with the superintendent.”

The board End Statements are essentially measurable elements of what students should be learning prior to graduation that helps district officials meet their mission. There are six end statements.

Board members and district officials work together to find ways to measure the district’s progress in achieving them. For instance, graduation rates are reviewed, as are state and national testing scores to quantify whether students are competitive with their peers, which ties to the academics and foundations end statement.

At the meeting, board members discussed how they could better plan their annual calendar and how they might update it throughout the year to reflect the needs of the community.

They also reviewed their policy regarding curriculum adoption and discussed the recent high school math adoption.

“The math adoption, because it was a major issue for the board and the district and we had a significant portion of our community engaged, was discussed,” Weaver said. “We spent some time debriefing the decision. How did individual board members come to their decisions, what influenced them and what parts could have gone more smoothly.”

No action was taken at the retreat, but at the May 12 regular meeting, board members opted to break into sub committees to draft new policy language regarding agenda planning, facility consolidation and structuring relevant state laws into policies.

“We left the retreat with renewed energy and focus about our specific roles and responsibilities as we work together to fulfill our mission: Our students will be prepared for and eager to accept the academic, occupational, personal, and practical challenges of life in a dynamic global environment,” Rasmussen wrote.

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