District hopes to boost numbers in extracurriculars
By Karen Colbenson
After more than a year of surveys and meetings conducted by Austin Public Schools, a long-range plan for the district has been approved.
School board members unanimously approved the five-year plan on April 14.
The plan consists of several district aims for 2007-2012, including high student achievement and maintaining safe and engaging learning environments for students and the district’s fiscal integrity.
One goal is to decrease the number of students not participating in extracurricular activities, which, according to Superintendent Candace Raskin, is important because the more engaged a student is within the district, the more likely that student will graduate.
Another goal that includes identifying and responding to students’ health needs, including the use of alcohol or drugs, already is being addressed through the district’s Chemical Health Awareness Initiative, which has helped decrease the number of students in trouble with drugs and alcohol, district officials said.
Other goals include improving the relationship between the district and the community and challenging all students.
Communitywide surveys conducted last year helped in the development of the plans.
School board members also have approved a new delegation procedure, which will offer additional time for community members to present their concerns to the board.
Community members who are uncomfortable approaching the board during the regular meeting will have the option of addressing the board prior to the meeting, from 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Each delegate will be allotted three minutes to speak. The board will send a letter of response to each delegate, as is the current practice for regular meeting delegations.
Additional time was needed for the increasing number of people wanting to speak to the board. Since the November election, there have been 22 delegations, a substantial increase over delegations to the former board, for which only about five took place over the previous four years.
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