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School starts with SMART goals in mind

SMART goals have been the buzz among Hudson administrators and teachers for the past several years and their work appears to be paying off for Hudson students.

SMART stands for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, results-based and time bound. Teachers and administrators establish SMART goals annually by first identifying a priority need, designing a goal to meet that need, researching how to best address the goal, implementing a plan and continually monitoring progress.

Adminstrators and principals reported on how their students did accomplishing the goals at last month's school board meeting.

At the elementary level, the goal to have 90 percent of all K-5 students reading at or above grade level by June of 2012 was accomplished. Teachers used a variety of techniques to help students achieve the goal including interventions for readers who were not at grade level and increased opportunities for enrichment for students reading above grade level. Book clubs, community volunteers and more resources helped in the effort.

The Hudson Middle School's SMART goal targeted reading as well. They wanted to increase the percentage of students who meet or exceed their personal target goal on a standardized reading test from 58 percent to 63 percent when the test was administered last spring. The school exceeded their goal by achieving 64 percent of students reaching or exceeding their goal.

Principal Dan Koch said teachers worked together to develop specific reading strategies to assist readers and had regular goal setting and progress conferences with students. Students also had 15 minutes of free reading during their advisory period and were given reading incentives throughout the year. He also said the SMART goal achievements made at the elementary level were filtering forward as those students entered middle school.

Hudson High School had three SMART goals last school year--to improve feedback to students on their learning and performance, to get freshman on track for graduation and to increase the number of advanced placement examinations taken.

Principal Laura Love said the staff wanted to have 67 percent of students indicating they had received feedback on their performance from a teacher or teachers on a spring survey. When the survey results were in, 71 percent of students said they got that feedback using a variety of resources.

As for the freshman, Love said the school introduced 22 freshman advisories with their own curriculum and student mentors. The goal also included decreasing disciplinary issues by focusing on behavioral expectatons.

By year's end, 85.1 percent of freshman had 95 percent attendance or better. There were 89 percent of freshman who earned a minimum of six credits and are on track for graduation. And 87 percent of girls and 78 percent of boys reported a positive connection with at least one staff member at HHS.

The only goal the school didn't hit was in the number of students passing AP exams. That number dropped from 80 percent to 77 percent in 2011-12. Love noted that there was a 19-5 percent increase in the number of AP exams taken over May of 2011.

The staff will report on new goals for this school year this fall including shifting to other curricular areas based on student performance.

For more information about SMART goals contact the office of Learning Services at (715)377-3705.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604