School starts on Aug. 28, and students and families will see some enhancements in curriculum and instruction, as well as some physical improvements to school buildings.
One initiative is a three-year plan that will use student performance data as a factor in teacher and administrator evaluations, said Bedford Superintendent Timothy Mayes.
Mayes said each school is setting goals that will serve as benchmarks in the next year, which will be used to measure the student performance in each school.
“The state is encouraging the use of student data in the evaluation process,” Mayes said.
The district will also be using a new algebra program for seventh- and eighth-graders,as well. Mayes said the goal is to have students complete Algebra I before reaching high school.
In the 2007-08 school year, Mayes said 90 students had completed algebra by the end of eighth grade. By last year, that number had more than doubled, to 185 students.
“Algebra is a gateway to get kids to study math and science,” Mayes said.
Another focus will be on teacher training, with the creation of teams to better address student needs, Mayes said.
“We’re training them on how to use quick assessments to see what students know and what they need to re-teach,” he said. This process will provide more tailored instruction.
The days of teaching students and moving on to the next lesson regardless of student mastery are gone, Mayes said, and formative assessments will help teachers determine what needs to be done based on what students need to know.
Buildings and grounds will also see improvements, Mayes said.
The biggest changes will be seen at McKelvie Intermediate School, with the first two phases of a drainage project there already complete.
Parents will also find changes to the traffic and pedestrian flow, with the exit moved further away from County Road.
“It will be a huge improvement over what we’ve been doing in the past,” Mayes said.
Finally, in a move to enhance school security, cameras have been installed on the exterior of the Bedford High School and Ross A. Lurgio Middle School.
Mayes said the Web-based cameras will allow administrators to monitor outside activity in real time, as well as use previous footage as necessary.
Mayes said that after last year’s successes, with two schools – Bedford High School and Memorial School – identified as exceptional from outside organizations, the goal of the district is to maintain its momentum.
“My goal is to focus on how to keep doing this, how to keep the bar high,” Mayes said.