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OJUSD Superintendent Invites Input
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Oakdale Joint Unified School District Superintendent Marc Malone is creating three new councils to serve in advisory and facilitative roles to the district related to facilities planning, operational planning, and classroom education.
Two of these committees are open to members of the community who wish to have a role in the planning for the district.
The goal of the Facilities Committee is to help the district develop a long-range facilities plan. Malone noted that OJUSD is into the fourth year of a six-year strategic plan and a new one needs to be drafted. He said that in about a year-and-a-half, approximately $3.5 million is going to come to maturation from developer fees and project savings. These types of funds have a mandated “use timeline” attached to them — use them or lose them.
“We need to have a plan in place for that,” Malone said, adding that the plan will need to go before the Board of Trustees within the next year. He added that the Facilities Committee will be comprised of approximately 12-15 people and will tour all district facilities, from school sites to currently unused properties and take inventory, track the student load on an area, prioritize needs, and ensure parity.
He noted that the district has made a significant investment in its facilities and wants to be proactive in making sure the facilities are maintained and new ones are added where necessary. There has also been some discussion about a civic or performing arts center. Malone said that committee would look into the feasibility of such a project.
The Oakdale Community Education Council (OCEC) will also be comprised of about 12-15 persons. Malone noted that there are three primary goals for this group. One will be to help in revising and rebuilding a new three-year operational plan within the six-year strategic plan to help the district achieve long-range strategic goals.
“This will allow us to prioritize the educational piece where we need to go for students…in the next three years.
The second is that as the district develops a new strategic plan, it must be devised so it is directly related to Oakdale, not a generic plan.
“(It will show) where we’re going to move our district within the next 10 years,” Malone explained.
The third goal of the OCEC will be to get out into the community and explain STAR (state) testing data. Malone believes that much of the data is misunderstood and that he envisions a public forum to communicate what the data means.
“The OCEC will have significant input on the elements of curriculum, community collaboration, enhanced parental involvement, technology, standardized testing education and nutrition. The objectives in the Operational Plan will be stated in measurable terms to enable the OJUSD Board of Trustees to assess the District’s progress on an annual basis,” Malone stated as further explanation in a posting on the district website.
He said that timeline for the OCEC is to have the operational plan in front of the Board of Trustees by January 2012.
The third committee that Malone has formed is the Superintendent’s Education Council. Malone said that in any district or organization it’s important to continue to strive to get better. This council, comprised of 12 teachers in the district from across various grade levels and curriculums, will go out in teams to visit other campuses and observe their counterparts at different grade levels.
“I really want us to talk about what works,” Malone said. “…When we see something good, we’re going to make note of that.”
This group will look at teaching techniques that really work regardless of the grade level, he said. They’ll look at specific instructional methodologies and devise a format specific to the district based on what works for teachers. He noted that it’ll show what a good lesson looks like and so on.
“We can’t help but get better,” he said, noting the opportunity for the teachers to observe and learn from each other.
Malone added that he believes there will be commonalities in successful teaching and, with adjustments, they can be used at different grade and subject levels.
He stated that he’s been in the district for the past 25 years and believes that over the past three years, prior Superintendent Fred Rich did a very good job navigating the district through tough financial times. Malone added that the reality is that the tough financial times are going to stick around.
“That tide won’t turn,” he said. “We have to deal with the budget the best we can and turn our focus back to mainly focusing on the kids and having a good product for the kids… There’s nothing more important we do than delivering instruction.”
If members of the community are interested in committing to serve on either the Facilities Committee or the OCEC, contact Malone at the OJUSD office at 848-4884. He’d like to close the committees by the end of this month and begin meetings in August. He said that there are agendas and legitimate goals attached to these committees and they would not be a waste of time.