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WJH officials establish annual goals

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:21 p.m.

A blueprint for the future of the West Jefferson Hills School District is being crafted, adult education classes organized and curriculum, instruction, supervision and assessments aligned.

West Jefferson Hills school officials are working to meet district targets set for 2012-13, while goals they set for last school year continue to see fruition.

“It's exciting. This is a step in the right direction,” said acting assistant superintendent Hamsini Rajgopal. “It sets goals for the future.”

Two of the three districtwide goals outlined for the 2011-12 school year were met, Rajgopal said, the third is a work in progress.

“I think we did an excellent job. We made good traction,” she said.

District goals for last school year, as approved by the board of directors, included “creating an optimal learning environment at all three elementary schools,” which prompted a redistricting. Another goal came from that, formulating a facilities master plan for the district, which is underway, Rajgopal said.

Another goal for the 2011-12 school year was to find a bullying prevention program to be put in place by the district during the 2012-13 school year.

Officials decided on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, and kickoffs for the program were held at all five schools last week.

“That was huge,” Rajgopal said.

Work continues on the third goal of the 2011-12 school year, which focused on curriculum.

This year, the focus is on formulating a strategic plan for the district, or a comprehensive document that outlines a road map for the next five years, Rajgopal said.

The district typically does a strategic plan every five years, as required by state law. But this year's is different — much more detailed and comprehensive, Rajgopal said.

Board members in July agreed to hire the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to facilitate the formation of the plan.

Soon, there will be surveys issued to the community and meetings will be held seeking input, Rajgopal said. The strategic plan likely will be finished this school year.

“This will have an emphasis on collaboration,” she said, noting it will bring together ideas of students, staff, administrators and parents.

District officials also are focusing on curriculum again this year, aligning it with instruction and state standards. In order for education to work, all of these must work together.

“It goes together like a hand and glove,” Rajgopal said. “We've got to make sure that we focus on student achievement.”

Leaders also plan to start an adult education program in West Jefferson Hills, a first in the district.

“Learning never stops,” Rajgopal said.

Details for that are still in the works.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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