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Plan to return to Educational Excellence in Goshen Community Schools. 

How can we turn the schools around?

This outline can serve as a framework for the school board to work with school administrators to return Goshen Community Schools to what they are created to do: Educate. 

Enact a whole system audit

  • You can't know where you need to change or go if you don't know where you are. We need a full audit of the schools, their systems, their classroom effectiveness, the students. This will provide a baseline and point of comparison for everything we do to restore our schools. No hiding, no making it look better than it is. A complete honest assessment of the school system.  

Set proper goals for the school system

  • We need a goal to achieve and increments to measure our progress against. 

  • Business plan that delineates what we offer, how we will offer it, and the result we expect from our efforts. 

Restore order and improve engagement 

  • Our classrooms must be defined by order and discipline and improper behavior must not be excused. 

  • Focus must be on learning, not making cultural statements or individualized expression.

  • Improve classroom management and student engagement.

  • Train teachers how to encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior.

  • Teach students to be respectful, responsible, and ready to learn while restoring discipline.

  • Provide the support and incentive for students to excel.

  • Promote respect for one another. In the words of the declaration of independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.

Promote confidence in our teachers

  • Support good teachers and encourage their ability to teach well.

  • Provide them the safe environment they need to excel by promoting order and discipline.

  • Set clear goals for the school.

  • Provide regular professional development.

  • Create strong learning opportunities so they can implement the best practices.

Focus on literacy

  • Make sure our teachers are well versed in the essential components of reading instruction.

  • Utilize systematic phonics instruction in the early grades and catch up for later grades.

  • Make ESL front and center for immigrants and hire bilingual teachers so that all students have the opportunities to excel in English.

  • Provide rewards for excellence and proficiency. 

Use standards 

  • Utilize resources to bring our mathematics instruction up to our state standards.

  • Support differentiated learning.

  • Provide students with targeted instruction for small groups or individual students who need it.

Watch the data

  • Ensure that everything, including goal setting and lesson plans are driven by data and be willing to make modifications as needed.

  • Do weekly and monthly reviews of progress to make sure we are on track, identify students in need of more instruction and those who are able to advance faster.

  • Communicate this data with students so they can feel ownership of their learning and provide teachers with more feedback.

Restore Decency

  • If the material is not suitable for the board meeting, its not suitable for kids.

  • No pornographic material and "comprehensive sex education."

  • No sexualization of children - no drag shows or sexualized activities. 

  • Literature and teaching that promotes good character, morality.

Adapted and expanded from 5 tactics for turning around a failing school | K-12 Dive

What about the finances?

Currently, our costs and taxes go up, and our scores are going down. As we return to an education based school model, the school board must also audit the finances and cut the waste. Based on the schools income, we should set reasonable and sustainable financial goals that meet our core objectives first and foremost. I have run my own businesses. A successful business orders its financial position to make sure that it successfully does what it is created to do first and then spends additional money on other things. Schools are here to educate first and foremost, not babysit. It doesn’t matter how good the extras and the buildings are if education is failing. At the front of the line, to have good education, you must have good teachers. Not teachers that can just teach well. But teachers that can teach what is right. A teacher who can teach well may convince students that they can fly if they flap their arms hard enough and jump off a cliff. But that would be wrong and thus all the ability is for not. Teachers that are teaching things that are wrong and not to be taught, regardless of how well they teach, need to be removed. But those that are teaching what is right and are teaching it well, they must be sought after and rewarded well. Underpaying good teachers teachers and overpaying on the extras is a recipe for losing all the good teachers. Our costs in the Goshen schools exceed $10,000 a year per student with expenditures between 80 and 100 million dollars a year. It is a disgrace to taxpayers to spend this amount and have such poor educational results. We need to cut the waste and return to educating so that less money will go farther and leave us with children ready to function in the real world.


See further: School Finance Series: Better Ways to Spend Your School’s Money

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