Jennienne Burke (D)

Stamford Board of Education

Democrat,
Stamford Board of Education, Health Quality, Aetna, CVS Health

The focus on student performance metrics to drive budget decision is an area that needs attention. As a district we work with limited resources, established academic goals and want to move the needle forward on the achievement gap. Our budget decisions need to reflect the priorities we say matter most. If our third grade district reading scores and assessments tell us students are reading well and instructional practices implemented are effective, then as a board member there are metrics to show I should support these programs in the operating budget. It's important to have metrics to inform budget decisions. This is helpful to know if spending should continue for programs and initiatives that are impacting student performance outcomes, need improvement or should be reconsidered. We must be mindful and intentional if want to close the achievement gap and meet our educational goals for students.
My solution is making sure regular monitoring and reporting of academic metrics for literacy and algebra are shared with the board and community. This informs us us where our students stand academically. These metrics and check-in points can be used to inform student progress and where limited funding resources should be focused in our annual budget.
Strength
The district has great collaboration with community organizations for early literacy and learning. The shared support for the foundations of early learning allows partnerships with organizations like SPEF to offer the Summer Start Program. Summer Start offers a preschool experience to entering kindergarten students who have not had one.
The school district is also moving in a positive direction with postsecondary preparation, providing high school students experiential career/workforce experiences prior to graduating. The district's Senior Internship Program and collaboration with Mayor's Youth employment program are two examples of these postsecondary preparation programs. Each year the number of students participating has increased. The district also has a Financial Academy (SPEF collaboration) for high school students to learn about money and finances. These are real life career skills and knowledge our graduates should have and will need!

Challenge
Use of technology efficiencies to administer our school district as well as technology classes and training for students in basic spreadsheet, databases use and queries and Outlook communication and task tools. These are established 21st century skills, practices and innovations are used in our everyday lives and work places.
The Board of Education has various functions, the most important being to hire and evaluate a Superintendent, create an annual budget and develop polices for our educational needs. The BOE leadership and the Superintendent should have regular and ongoing communications. The school district's needs and operation ,with 21 buildings, ~16,000 and ~1600 teachers and staff, are a large part of the Stamford economy and momentum. The interaction with other city governing boards is relevant because the Board of Education's operating budget comes from and is the largest part of our city budget. This impacts financial decisions for taxpayers property taxes, the Mayor, Board of Finance and Board of Representatives must make.
The Board of Education's capital budget for large projects and needs are considerations along with the evaluation of the City of Stamford's capital needs. Its extremely important to have conversations with Board of Finance and Representatives not just during BOE budget season, but throughout the year so all stakeholders have insight and input into concerns, needs and solutions.


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