Chesapeake School Board spells out list of year's goals
CHESAPEAKE, Sep 14, 2010 (The Virginian-Pilot - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
School officials have identified all-day kindergarten at every Chesapeake school as one of their goals for this year, along with a new science magnet program, technology upgrades and new partnerships with area businesses.
Those ideas and others were pitched by School Board members Monday night in an unusual planning session held to gather thoughts for the division's goals as it opens a fresh chapter with a new superintendent.
Board members were quick to say it all would depend on funding. But if the economy recovers and the division can make some changes, these are the ones they'd like to see.
High on the list was curbing bullying, and Superintendent James Roberts said he's already working on several anti-bullying programs, including one in conjunction with the Sheriff's Office.
Most board members were adamant that the schools look into the cost of all-day kindergarten. Right now, only Chesapeake's low-income elementary schools, designated by federal Title I status, enroll kindergartners all day. The rest have half-day kindergarten.
Roberts added that the division should look at expanding its prekindergarten programs, which presently serve mostly low-income children.
"It's something we at least need to put a price tag on," he said.
Roberts said he's also working on a new science and medicine magnet program for Deep Creek High School, building relationships with community businesses, and switching the division's computers over from the old Novell operating system to one developed by Microsoft.
Jay Leftwich, vice president of the board, said he would like to see the schools work on student behavior by teaching character and sportsmanship, and bring back some reading incentives.
Christina Pullen said the schools need to take a hard look at their special education program, which last year was criticized for exempting students from standardized testing at an unusually high rate.
Fellow board member Brenda Johnson said she would like to rezone overcrowded schools more often and start students learning foreign languages at younger ages, as schools in other countries do.
"We need to step it up," Johnson said. "We are a good school system, but we need to be a great school system."
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