Marlboro School Superintendent Michael Brooks recently said he asked the school board to “start doing some homework, start doing some thinking and to start doing some soul searching on what vision we want to set, what goals do we want to set and then how do we want to approach this year’s goals.” Brooks added that the board is also considering scheduling a one day “retreat” to discuss school operations and procedures but a date has not yet been set.
Brooks said the board has briefly reviewed goals they set for the 2016-17 school year just as a starting point for discussion this year. In that five point statement the board promised a continued commitment to excellence and a regular review of programs that lead to quality programs that help students “excel academically, socially, emotionally and physically.” The board reiterated their commitment to careful management of the district’s finances and would “continue practices that encourage and assure transparency in board and administrative operations and communications of school district events, news and achievements.”
The goals point out that school policies and practices must “ensure that students can learn in a physically, socially and emotionally safe environment,” while emphasizing that students must “treat each other with dignity and respect.”
A final goal notes that the Board of Education must receive updates on all policies to ensure they are “reviewed for alignment with current laws, regulations and local ideals.”
School Board President Bill Bell has recently resigned from the board and has relocated to another area of the country. Board member Susan Horton was elected as the new President. The board still has to decide if they will appoint a new board member or call for a special election to fill the one empty seat.
Brooks made a point to say that Bell “was a fantastic leader for the district for the number of years that he was involved. I was thoroughly pleased to work with him; he was a very good person and always had the interests of the children at the forefront. I am sad to see him go and I wish him the absolute best.”
Brooks said these recent changes provide an opportunity for the board to “take a look at what we currently have, where we currently are and is our vision all the same, as far as where we want to get to.”
Brooks said he and the district are ready for the new year.
“We’re ready: I can’t wait,” he said. “I have a bunch of new exciting staff members and our existing staff is strong who can’t wait for the kids to come back; its time. The summer was very productive and we’ve been getting the buildings cleaned out and repairs here and there and boy, the life bloods coming back.”
Susan Horton welcomes the challenges as the new school board President.
“I am honored that my colleagues on the board have faith and trust in me to put me in the position; I am grateful for that,” she said. “For me, its about serving the community and we’re doing something here that’s bigger than ourselves.”
Horton believes the board is leaning toward appointing someone to fill the empty seat rather than holding a special election, which would incur a significant expense. She expects the board will put out a notice to see who shows an interest and then invite them to speak to the board. The board also has the option of leaving the seat vacant until the 2018-19 budget vote next May.
Horton said the board is considering establishing their first meeting of the month as a workshop and their second one for approving motions, resolutions and other related business matters. She said this format would allow the board more time for “fruitful discussions” at their first meeting and not be rushed to get through a lengthy agenda.
Horton said taking the time to review and add to their vision statement is time well spent and will provide time for the board and the district to see “what we want to be.”
“In order to be a good and productive board we have to be proactive, so we really need to take a good look at our vision,” she said. “Once we decide what our vision is, what we want to look ahead at, what we aspire to be, then I think from there we will create very measurable goals…Overall that’s what our next step is as a board.”