Montgomery school board updated on district goals

By: Jake Uitti
   MONTGOMERY — Assistant Superintendent Jane Plenge presented an updated account of the township school district’s 2006-2007 goals Tuesday, which she said would aid in making students more complete and higher-performing.
   Ms. Plenge stressed systematic use of student performance data, high school technology infusion, teacher collaboration and social and emotional student learning as being important for the coming school year.
   The district’s summer enrichment program and curriculum renewal — two of last year’s goals — are becoming institutionalized this year, she said.
   "We are trying to create areas of intensified focus to help ensure optimal student achievement," Ms. Plenge said. "One of the things that helps to do this is a well-conceived, professional development program."
   The four goals planned for the coming school year, Ms. Plenge said, build on the idea of "differentiation," which is something the district has been focusing on for several years, she said.
   Differentiation, a goal introduced in 2004-2005, helps to tailor instruction to the needs of individuals, "rather than a one size fits all" curriculum development, Ms. Plenge said.
   She explained that collaboration between teachers, using their "vast" expertise, will improve the teaching program.
   "Teachers working together creates powerful, powerful effects," she said.
   In a high-achieving district like Montgomery, she said, students can feel a lot of pressure. To have students achieve their best, students’ social and emotional well being have to be taken into consideration. This is to achieve a "complete student," Ms. Plenge said.