Board members are looking for a way to measure the Verona Area School District’s success with its five strategic plan pillars.

Those pillars, part of a five-year plan approved in July 2018, are authentic relationships; a safe, inclusive learning environment; high expectations for every student; supporting and empowering staff; and equitable allocation of resources.

Without a baseline goal for the district to measure its actual growth against, board member Carolyn Jahnke told administrators at its Monday, Feb. 3, meeting, it’s hard for the board to know where it needs to allocate resources.

Jahnke said even if the goal set is too high for the district to achieve, having it established would help the board focus on where the district needs to improve.

“Maybe we don’t hit it, because X, Y and Z happens – we reprioritize,” she said. “At least we can measure how far did we get in our goal, versus if we don’t have an idea of how much we want to move that, then how do we know we put the right resources into it, or made the right efforts?”

Board member Debbie Biddle also asked if district staff – mainly assistant superintendent Laurie Burgos and the continuous improvement teams of educators at each site – can present metrics that allow the board to both get a district overview of the data and see site-specific data.

“I just don’t see how we’re going to know whether we’re making any progress,” she said.

Burgos told board members the district could provide end-of-year reports from site principals.

“I think then as a board, you would feel like if you know we’re looking at the end of each year at attendance data, office visits and referrals, suspensions, these are things we know for sure that we can pull and present to you,” she said.

Currently, the district is measuring student growth, academically and behaviorally speaking, and district improvement through multiple data points, Burgos told board members Monday night.

One area where the district collects data is third grade reading standardized test scores, which is an indicator of future academic success, Burgos said. Others are the eighth grade math test scores, the amount of ninth grade “F” grades given out and referrals to each school’s office for students with behavioral needs.

The district also collects data on from site climate surveys, in which students answer questions regarding whether they feel they belong at the school or if there’s at least one adult they trust in their building.

“There’s always more to the story than what the metric is,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re telling that story.”

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.