November 1, 2002 — The 2001–2006 Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Community Strategic Plan calls for changes in the way everyone in schools conduct business. Changes include the way principals provide leadership, how teachers organize learning activities, teach to rigorous standards, and provide specific feedback to parents and students. DoDDS Pacific has intensified its commitment to high student achievement and success for all students. “We are looking at everything we do under the Community Strategic Plan in support of Goal 1, Highest Student Achievement,” remarked Dr. Steven Bloom, DoDDS Pacific Deputy Director.
“New this year is the addition of high school support courses in reading and algebra. Students who score below the 50th percentile in reading and the 50th percentile in mathematics will be eligible to enroll in these courses, which are aimed at providing interventions that will help identified students improve their skills,” said DoDDS Pacific Education Division Chief. This is part of a comprehensive multi-year high school initiative that will begin this year and is intended to strengthen high school academic offerings at both large and small schools. “It provides an opportunity for students in all our high schools to have access to challenging and rigorous courses and to have support when needed,” stated Bloom.
Another initiative for SY 2002–2003 is the addition of the curriculum implementation facilitator (CIF)—an on site, fellow educator who will support curriculum implementation activities within the school. “The CIF will be an important resource for educators as we increase our emphasis on standards-based curriculum and instruction. The ultimate goal is to have a CIF in every school,” stated Bloom.
More alliances with businesses will be pursued this school year. In addition to the one-year old CISCO Academy Program, DoDDS Pacific is offering a Computer Service and Support course, available to all high school students. “We are modernizing our approach to career, vocational, technical, and professional studies because we eventually want students to graduate with certificates of competency that meet industry standards,” reported Bloom. “We envision expanding course options for those students who will seek employment directly out of high school, and we want them to be competitive in the market place,” said Bloom.
With the increased emphasis on standards-based curriculum and instruction, principals and assistant principals will be visiting classrooms to look at how well students are performing in relation to standards and how the instructional practices support those standards. “This will require additional time in the classrooms above and beyond administrators’ normal visitation schedules,” stated Bloom, “but we believe the benefits will be extraordinary by increasing our capacity to help all students reach higher academic standards.” The DoDDS Pacific Education Chief added, “Administrators will set aside time for teachers to collaboratively look at student performance to diagnose instruction and guide teaching, and administrators will work together with teachers to review best instructional practices that lead to high student achievement.” Bloom stated, “Our ultimate goal is in the outcome. Both administrators and teachers will be asking, ‘No matter how well I led, managed, or taught, did students learn?’ This is at the heart of our efforts in DoDDS Pacific.”