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District sets top goals for new year

By Karen Wilkinson

Triplicate staff writer

Doing "whatever it takes" to help students reach grade-level reading and math success topped the Del Norte County School District's 2007-2008 list of goals.

"We want to make better choices for instructing those students," Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Don Olson said at a Monday study session.

Olson said he hopes to offer a new math course next fall, "Algebra Essentials," which will focus on basics, better prepare students for Algebra I and help them perform better on state tests.

Also topping the school board's list of goals is recruiting, hiring and retaining "outstanding, highly qualified teachers, staff and administrators."

"It's crucial — this is what it's all about," board member Bill Maffett said.

That can be done in part by attending more career fairs, Personnel Director Richard Holley said.

Communicating more effectively with staff and the community via the Internet also made the list, as Superintendent Jan Moorehouse wants to give the district's outdated Web site a facelift.

Improving and increasing vocational training at the high-school level and preparing students for careers afterward is another goal the board discussed.

Helping link adolescents to post-high school careers is crucial, board member Tom Cochran said.

Cochran wants to have guidance counselors in the schools during the middle school years, instead of simply during high school.

And pairing middle school students with high school students who would serve as mentors possibly would curb dropout rates, Cochran said.

"It breaks down the anonymity if someone knows them," Moorehouse said.

Board member Bill Parker said he's mainly concerned with balancing the budget and making decisions afterward.

Moorehouse also wants the school board's evaluation of her performance to occur at the same time the board sets its yearly goals.

"I want to be held accountable," she said.

The school board, which has authority to hire and fire a superintendent, hired Moorehouse after Frank Lynch resigned in summer 2005.

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