By TRAVIS MORSE firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — District 80 will hold its annual two-day board retreat for this year on Jan. 17 and 18 at the district office, located at 2710 North St.
The retreat, which is open to the public, will give the Board of Education a chance to set goals for the 2014-2015 school year and review other topics of importance for the district.
At this year’s meeting, the board will also evaluate the district’s School Report Card data and discuss the school calendar as it pertains to the use of snow days.
“It’s a great opportunity for myself to spend 10 to 12 hours with the board and go over every aspect of the district,” said Superintendent Mike Green of the retreat. “It’s good to use this as a springboard for planning for next year and the years ahead.”
The first session of this year’s retreat will run from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 17. The retreat will then continue at 8 a.m. Jan. 18. The Board of Education will hold its regular monthly meeting at 1 p.m. Jan. 18.
Green said the board retreat has been an annual tradition at District 80 for more than 10 years.
The major focus of the gathering is to develop goals and objectives for the district. The goals typically center around five topics — students, staff, facilities, parents and the community, and finances.
Then, under each goal topic, roughly two to six objectives are set, Green said.
Some examples of last year’s objectives include the approval of a science program for second and third graders, and to continue the district’s balanced literacy program for pre-K through eighth grade students. Both of
these objectives have been accomplished, Green said.
Assistant Superintendent Aletta Lawrence said facility maintenance, student performance and technology also tend to be significant discussion topics at the retreat.
“It gives the board direction for the upcoming year,” Lawrence said.
Analyzing the School Report Card Data will be another important part of the retreat.
This fall, Report Card information was released for 2012-2013. District 80 as a whole did not meet adequate yearly progress standards for that year, but saw gains in reading scores on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.
At the retreat, board members and administrative staff will examine the data in great detail to gain a better understanding of how the district performed, Green said.
“It’s an opportunity to go more in depth with the board,” Green said.
The school calendar should also feature prominently at the retreat, especially since the district has now used six of its 10 snow days for the school year.
In December, the district used three snow days. Then, this week, the district used three more.
No decisions have yet been made on amending the school calendar, but the snow days will have to be made up, either during spring break or at the end of the year.
“There’s nothing we can do about the weather,” Lawrence said. “We don’t ever want to do anything to put the students in danger.”