Sunnyside's school directors have numerous goals they hope to accomplish in the near future. Topping the list, though, are increasing parental involvement, as well as creating as many volunteer opportunities as possible.
Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole shared at last week's school board meeting some of the goals the directors decided upon during a retreat they attended at the Eagles Lakes Lodge in Othello the weekend of June 17.
At the top of the list is to increase community involvement. The board identified two immediate goals in this area, one of which is to increase parental involvement in the schools. The board also wants to increase volunteer opportunities in the schools.
Another target area of the directors is to increase academic learning time. To reach this goal, the board identified the need to address unexcused/excused absences by students. Directors also want to decrease the time teachers are out of the classrooms during the coming year.
The directors also identified the need to continue professional development for all staff.
A fourth goal of the board is to provide diversity training to increase cultural competence of all staff.
The board also expressed a desire to continue the work of the ethics committee to focus on such issues as liquor licenses, a dress code, gambling and nutrition.
The board also wants to develop a plan to further help assist students learning English to do better in school.
Another major target area of the school board is to have schools be held accountable for implementing their school improvement plans. The board wants to work on implementing the nine characteristics of high performing schools, which include having a clear and shared focus, effective school leadership, focused professional development, having high levels of collaboration and communication, and having a supportive learning environment.
Another goal identified by the school board is to improve staff effectiveness by providing such avenues as a leadership academy and mentoring.
The directors also want to do a better job of using the data the district collects to help in the decision making process.
The school board goals also include improving the enforcement of policies, with a big emphasis on the district enforcing the dress code.
Some of the other highlights cited in the minutes of the two-day retreat include having schools in the district allow for a night to have board members meet with parents. The idea, according to the minutes, is to allow the directors to listen to and receive ideas from parents.
Also during the retreat, the directors expressed a desire to have the Parent Information Resource Center, which is located across from the Denny Blaine building, better utilized. The board also felt that each school building needs to be held accountable for improving parental involvement, holding in alignment with the school improvement plans.
Also during the retreat, directors learned that a survey will be handed out during the fall conferences regarding how parents feel the district is doing in educating students.