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Are Westford Schools Already “There”?


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The following is part of a recap from the Sept. 8, 2014 Westford School Committee meeting. For other portions of the recap, click here.


9:43 p.m. – The meeting then went to the Assistant Superintendent’s goals for the year.

Clery said for her professional practice goal, she would hone in on a professional development plan geared toward the strategic plan. Specifically, implementing best practices from across the state would be part of the plan.

Murray and Keele said these items were not given ahead of time, but they appreciated a summary.

Clay appreciated Clery’s work.

Clery’s second goal was regarding MCAS scores, saying that there was a requirement to cut proficiency shortfalls in half due to the fact that Westford is a now a Level 2 District.

David Keele on Sept. 8, 2014
David Keele on Sept. 8, 2014

She then wanted to “land the plane” for teacher evaluations. With the educator evaluation committee referenced later, there would be subcommittees on that committee that would be a focus of Clery.

Then she wanted to assistant in implementation of the digital learning plan in coordination with Julie Elkins. She hoped in the future, all learning would be done digitally.

She has been meeting frequently with Elkins to coordinate curriculum with digital improvements.

Clery is also looking at improving science standards coming within the next few years, hoping to start now in hopes of being proactive rather than reactive.

Murray asked about the Level 2 issue and asked if Westford could become a Level 1 district this year.

Clery wanted to address that concern, and that there would need to be peeling back of the layers to address the school department’s needs.

Keele said there was a lot of discussion about where we want to go, but then suggested that “we are there” due to the fact that 94 percent of Westford Academy graduates go on to college and that despite a Level 2 ranking, Westford was truly a Level 1 district to local parents.

Murray then said that the committee should never stop trying to improve, and Keele said it was a canned response.

Ryan agreed with both.

Benoit asked about being a Level 2 System, and asked keeping students in-house has impacted the ranking.

Olsen said only the most severe high needs students are sent out, and both Benoit and Olsen said Westford may be victims of its own success, but Olsen said that it was a responsibility to change and grow.

Clery said that the new criterion takes into account growth levels.

Kohl asked about ELL students relating to Level 2, and Clery said that there are four subgroups relating to Level 2, and ELL Students were one of those subgroups. Kohl said that it would be hard to half proficiency setbacks on that front.

Harkness thanked Clery and said she had never heard assistant superintendent goals.

Clay said the takeaway was that the schools were doing very well and this discussion was only about making it better.

More information on the levels is available here.

9:58 p.m. – Expense warrants were approved.

There were discussions over personnel changes, including two new school nurses.

Kohl appreciated the additional data regarding personnel.

The meeting adjourned at 10:03 p.m.

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