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Oswego School Administrators, Board To Set Goals For District

OSWEGO, NY – At Tuesday night’s Oswego School Board meeting,
Superintendent Ben Halsey elaborated on the district’s board of education workshop, goal-setting process and plans for a “Wall of Distinction.”

The board will be taking part in a retreat and workshop on July 29 and 30.

“The concept is to have our administrative council, which is all of our principals, directors and supervisors working with myself on a two-day process. The second day will include board members,” he explained.

The first day will center on taking all of the feedback that has been shared with the superintendent (from the administrative council) at this point and shaping goals and targets for reaching those goals in three major categories, Halsey said.

“Those three major categories are academic excellence, student achievement; fiscal responsibility and infrastructure; and governance and communication. We will gather all this data and work together as an administrative council on that first day to generate all of the goals and put them into the categories that I just spoke about,” he said. “Then, we’ll divide our council up into three groups. Each group will oversee that particular category. They’ll take all the data to find similarities and commonalities that are presented from us on the administrative team in each of those areas.”

They will also point out the differences.

From that, a priority list of goals in each of the categories will be developed.

“That’s going to take some dialogue, collaboration and some prioritization, which is important for us,” Halsey said.

He will also do a presentation as to what his expectation are, as superintendent, for the administrative team and the district.

“So, that’s going to be a very busy first day. The second day will be a collaborative meeting with you as a school board. The idea there is for you, as board members, to bring in your thoughts on goals that you’d like to see in those same three categories,” the superintendent told the board members. “We’ll take the information that you bring in as a school board and jive that with what we develop as an administrative council. We’ll start to build a plan for us to move forward.”

The goals and targets are going to be broad, “they’re intended to be broad,” he pointed out.

The will be refined and focused later.

“The intent of this process is that we will have three major goals in each of those three categories, which cover all of what we do as a public school. We can map out a plan for us in each of those three areas. Then we can use that as a template for our decision-making,” Halsey said. “It will ideally give some consistency to our public; they’ll know what our goals are going to be, what our decisions are going to be based on.”

It’s an “ambitious” couple days of work, but well worth it, the superintendent said. A sub-committee may need to be formed to take a look at everything and put some finishing touches on it before presenting the finished product to the board, he added.

Wall of Distinction

The Wall of Distinction concept is similar to what the district is currently doing to honor its past athletes.

“There are a number of schools that have this. I have been approached by a number of individuals during my time here, recommending to me that we have very meaningful individuals that have either graduated from Oswego or worked for Oswego and dedicated their time as positive role models for our students and community; they should be acknowledged some how by the school district,” Halsey said.

The most common ways are naming a facility or classroom in their honor.

“There are pros and cons to that approach. But, there is a way to acknowledge influential and key people who have either graduated from Oswego or worked for Oswego or both that have been meaningful to the community and our students,” he said. “That’s who a Wall of Distinction would honor. This is to acknowledge those individuals who have achieved a high level of professionalism and distinction in their personal life or as an employee of the district.”

They have to have had sufficient moral character and been a positive role model to the community and students, he added.

“We’d formulate a committee of individuals who would send out nominations. The nominations would come in and a selection committee, much like the hall of fame we see for athletics, would review them. It would be the same concept. We’re trying to acknowledge those individuals who have had meaningful impact on people’s lives as a working professional or as an educator. We want to acknowledge the outstanding people that have come through these doors and contributed to society. This is a way to do that.”

The honorees could be recognized at a ceremony shortly before graduation, the superintendent suggested. He said he hopes to have things in place to acknowledge the first group in June of 2016.

“I think this is a good idea,” board member Tom DeCastro said. “It takes a few years to work out the bugs. I think next year is ambitious for you but it’s still a good idea.”

“I think we can do it. It’s all about getting a few people involved. I don’t think we have to reinvent the wheel, because I know a number of my colleagues in districts across the state do this. So we have a lot of miles to follow. We can tweak them to fit our needs here in Oswego.”

1 Comment

  1. Halsey needs to spend less time on the wall of distinction and more time trying to figure out how to not raise taxes 10% again next year. Another year of Halsey as superintendent and Kathleen Allen as Board President is bad news for the taxpaying public. These two have raised taxes 4% last year and 10% this year. These were the largest tax increases for the school taxpayers since the early 2000’s when the first PILOT was signed. Allen has praised Halsey as being efficient. Halsey is doing less with more ad that is the opposite of efficiency. Numbers do not lie — Halsey is Oswego’s least efficient superintendent since Buehler when you measure how much they have raised taxes. And Crist who was pushed out by Allen was the MOST effective superintendent, cutting taxes by 11% between 2008 and 2013, and he was paid $25,000 less than Halsey.

    Mayor Gillen is villified and rightfully so for raising taxes 43% but I do not understand why Halsey and Allen and the rest of the school board gets a free pass from the public. I don’t understand why more people were as angry as I in the May elections. A defeated budget and Fran Hoefer’s reelection should have been a no brainer.

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