Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of Trustees Raising the Bar - December 03, 2009

Record Number: 5717
Displayed from: Dec 03, 2009 , until: Dec 31, 2009

The following is a press release from the Indiana Department of Education. The Indiana State Board of Education acknowledged the Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) Board of Trustees at yesterday's monthly meeting during the "Spotlight on Learning." The FWCS board has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to meet various challenges head on to increase students' academic achievement. "Setting high expectations for achievement is a critically important first step for all school districts hoping to increase student success," Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said. "For students to meet and exceed those expectations, however, schools must develop and implement action plans that focus on the key drivers of education. The FWCS Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate a commitment to addressing these areas by applying strong accountability systems and targeting school leadership." After initial conversations with local administrators, the FWCS Board of Trustees scheduled extra meetings called "work sessions," during which they set three guiding principles to measure all future actions. 1. Achieve and maintain academic excellence. 2. Engage parents and the community. 3. Operate with fiscal responsibility, integrity and effectiveness. In addition, the trustees implemented an accountability system developed by Harvard Business School called the Balanced Scorecard. Their involvement in the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE) program allowed board members and administrative staff to be trained in the Balanced-Scorecard system before it was implemented district wide. The PLE program specifically addresses school leadership toward a core mission, giving board members the opportunity to focus on the corporation's key priorities for improving student achievement. "The focus on academic achievement is viewed as the driver from the boardroom to the classroom," FWCS Board President Mark GiaQuinta said. "This is very hard work, and it is not for the faint of heart; the stakes are very high for our students. When we keep the students' interests at the forefront of every discussion, we cannot help but stay on course." FWCS has almost 32,000 students with over 65 percent qualifying for free or reduced lunch. In addition, 79 languages and dialects are spoken by students across the corporation. The district's graduation rate is over 80 percent, but Board of Trustees members remain committed to increasing this number every year. For more information on FWCS, go to: www.fwcs.k12.in.us.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.