STATEMENT OF POSITION ON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT 383 (updates and expanded studies in, 2002, 1989, 1976, 1974, 1970; printed in the December 1977 VOTER,)
Because students vary greatly in their educational needs and in how they are able to learn, the League supports:
- The use of a variety of effective teaching methods, which take into consideration students' learning styles and preferences.
- The use of community resources (human resources and facilities) and partnerships with other public and private organizations as part of the total learning environment.
- Equal opportunity for participation in alternative programming, both teacher and/or community-initiated, in meeting students' educational needs. When numbers are sufficient and space and resources allow, such programming could include but is not limited to flexibility in the school day schedule, extended school year, grade and building organization, ungraded classrooms, possible assignment of additional certified teachers in the classroom/building, and gender-specific classrooms.
- Curriculum planning and coordination implemented consistently district wide;
- A continuum of services for special education students in accordance with the federal mandate.
- Secondary programming broad enough to educate both college-bound and non-college bound students.
II. Certified & Professional Staff
The League believes that the classroom teacher and professional staff are vital to student academic success and the student's ability to become a meaningful contributor to society and therefore supports:
- Competitive salaries necessary to recruit only high quality new teaching and professional staff and to retain and reward existing staff who have met and/or exceeded the highest level of performance expectations. A thorough written performance evaluation of teachers and staff should be done annually.
- Scheduled, uninterrupted instructional and planning time during the work day and scheduled professional development opportunities during the school year.
- Classroom student/teacher ratios that meet district guidelines.
- Use of paid and/or volunteer paraprofessional staff for all students when needed and as financial resources allow.
- Board decisions, policies, and administrative actions in support of the above.
III. Meeting Students' Needs
The League believes steps should be taken early to identify, prevent, and resolve problems for individual students so that effective academic programs can be developed and provided by teachers, paraprofessionals, and aids (and with parental involvement and support), and therefore supports:
- Services and programs aimed toward early recognition of academic, social, emotional and health needs, including dental, of individual students.
- Pre-kindergarten assessment of children.
- Frequent informal and periodic formal evaluation of students to ensure appropriate academic, social, and emotional growth according to expected educational goals.
The League believes that planned, ongoing evaluation by educators, parents, students, and the community must occur to ensure that programs (academic, nonacademic, and extracurricular) meet the needs of students and society.
Standing committees and advisory groups composed of educators, parents, students, and other community representatives should be established to research and make recommendations on programs and policies.
An evaluation system that measures the effectiveness of programs based on the District's educational goals and the community's values should be developed. Evaluation results should be reported to the community annually and should be used to support, change or eliminate programs.
V. Public Support
The League believes that the district should seek adequate public funds to achieve district educational goals with strong state and federal funding supplemented by local funding.
School district funds should be prioritized and allocated first to academic programs and second to nonacademic and extracurricular programs.
VI. Budget & Finance
The League believes funds should be budgeted annually for both short (two) years and long range district facility planning. The long range building plan should be developed on the basis of the total number students anticipated, educational goals, and financial viability. The plan should consider the use of and need for existing structures, the need for new space, and the impact of both on the community. It should also take into consideration the City of Manhattan's current Comprehensive Land Use Plan, zoning regulations, transportation needs, housing needs and patterns, and a variety of demographic trend reports and student population projections. The League would not support building additional space until it can be shown that existing building use is optimum.
Before voters are asked to approve a building bond issue, the League believes there should be sufficient information to educate them about:
- The planned educational program.
- The building design required by the program.
- Estimated cost of the building.
- Location and size of the building.
- Projected operational costs.
- Effect of the proposed building on existing buildings and program.
Decisions concerning program, staffing, redistricting, transportation, and other district needs should be based on how they meet the district's educational goals. Administrative recommendations and the board's decisions should seek to maintain socioeconomic balance of the student enrollments within the schools in the district.