Special master discusses 3-year turnaround plan with New London school board

New London - A three-year plan to close the city's achievement gap was the subject Thursday of a presentation by the school district's special master, who will help guide the Board of Education in crafting a way to help make the plan a reality.

Steven Adamowski reviewed the beginning steps of the district's Strategic Operating Plan at the school board's first workshop of the year. The Strategic Operating Plan is required by the state Department of Education as a condition of state supervision and will begin with the 2013-14 school year.

Adamowski was appointed by the state in June to oversee the school district's operations.

"This has to be systemic. It is a much more comprehensive and detailed level plan than the former school improvement plan," Adamowski said. "…You may find this tedious, and it will drag out a little bit, but when you have it, you'll be very happy with it because it will be your roadmap. It will make the budget process easier, the evaluation of the superintendent easier … everything will just flow easier."

Contained in the plan will be a vision, a theory of action and major strategies the district plans to employ over the next three years to raise student achievement.

"As a member of the board, as a superintendent, as anyone who provides leadership, you have to have a personal vision before that can emerge with others to create a shared vision. It does not drop out of the sky," Adamowski said.

He gave board members a "homework assignment" in answering two questions relating to how they would describe New London schools five years from now and what they would want to leave as their personal legacy to the children of New London.

Their responses are due on Monday to Superintendent of Schools Nicholas A. Fischer, who will work with Adamowski in pooling them together to help create the first drafts of the board's vision statement.

In January, the school board must also submit an effectiveness plan to the state. That plan is based on the results of the state's Governance and Management audit of the board and will consist of a summary of the board's visions and goals. The school district already has a District Improvement Plan.

Next Friday, Adamowski is scheduled to meet with members of the School Building and Maintenance Committee to discuss three things: the role of the Board of Education in initiating building projects aligned with the operating plan; a system of regional magnet schools; and the creation of magnet school program pathways and implications for the building program.

According to the committee's agenda, the plans will focus on New London High School and Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Science and Technology Magnet High School.

j.hanckel@theday.com

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