On August 12th and 13th, 2014, the School Board members met with our new Superintendent, Dr. Glenn "Max" McGee, to discuss our focused goals for the 2014-2015 school year. We met in open public session at the University Club, facilitated by Dr. Dennis Smith of Leadership Associates. Dr. McGee requested the Board read Amanda Ripley's book, "The Smartest Kids in the World," over the summer and he led a lively discussion about the main points of Ripley's extensive research, based on international studies on student learning and achievement, as well as interviews with thousands of high school exchange students around the world.
We discussed how to recognize "great schools," which include: faculty that is talented in both content knowledge and pedagogy, parents who coach their children, academic rigor and high expectations for all students to excel, student persistence, and a school culture of scholarship and academic seriousness. We also discussed five essential qualities that are most likely to improve student learning in mathematics and reading, based on twenty years of research in Chicago schools: effective leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environment, and ambitious instruction. (http://www.uchicagoimpact.org/5essentials/)
Dr. McGee then presented some potential goals for the coming school year and the Board gave specific feedback and guidance on those. More on the goals after our first Board meeting, coming up on August 26th. Overall, it was a very productive retreat and a terrific opportunity to get to know our new Superintendent.