FAQ about Comprehensive District Goals

How is the new law different from previous requirements related to district goals?

The 80th Texas legislature in 2007 added section 11.1511 of the Education Code, which describes duties and responsibilities of the board of trustees. One of the additions is a requirement that the board adopt a statement of the vision for education in the district as well as comprehensive district goals. Previously, boards were only required to adopt student performance objectives related to AEIS indicators.

What is meant by "comprehensive goals"? Is this different from the student performance goals developed by our district level site-based committee?

The word “comprehensive” is not defined in the statute. The board should exercise its discretion in deciding what counts as comprehensive goals. However, the word "comprehensive" suggests that boards at least consider a broader range of issues than simply student performance objectives when adopting priority goals for the district. This might include goals for facilities, for operational efficiency, for organizational climate, or for teacher recruitment and retention. These goals can guide action planning for staff in various departments and on various site-based committees across the district when they develop their improvement plans.  As a general rule, TASB encourages boards to look comprehensively at district needs when considering district goals, then choose judiciously among those needs in adopting goals.

Who should develop these comprehensive goals?

Goals may be developed in a variety of ways. They can be developed by a group as small as the board and superintendent team or as large as a community planning team of 30 or 40 people. Often they are developed by the board and superintendent with input from staff on the current progress toward goals and an assessment or emerging needs. The important thing is the development process results in a single, central set of goals which the board, superintendent, and staff agree will be the focus of improvement efforts for the district and that the board is committed to support the goals with necessary resources.

Would our strategic objectives count as comprehensive goals?

If your district has adopted a strategic plan that identifies priority targets for the district that cover a broad range of issues, these most likely serve the purpose of comprehensive goals whether they are called strategic objectives, strategic goals, strategic priorities, or simply long-range goals. More important than the label used to describe them is that the goals serve as a focus for improvement efforts for everyone in the district for at least the next year, if not beyond. For this to happen, the board and administration must agree these are the priorities on which energy and resources should be spent.

The new law also mentions “performance indicators” for the district. What are these?

The performance indicators previously required for student performance refer to specific, measurable targets which the district expects to accomplish within the next year for a specific AEIS indicator or measure. Similar performance indicators could be established for district goals related to issues other than student achievement as well. For example, if a district has a goal of having “state of the art facilities that support excellence in education,” a performance indicator or progress measure for the first year might be the completion of a thorough assessment of the district’s facilities as compared to state standards. Future indicators might focus on the accomplishment of specific steps each year in a long-range plan to bring older facilities up to par, to secure land or financing for new facilities, or to add infrastructure to support a more technologically advanced curriculum.

These performance indicators sound a lot like our district’s superintendent performance goals. Are they the same thing?

Superintendent performance goals generally do serve as short-term objectives that will move the district closer to accomplishing a priority goal. If the board has established a performance goal for the superintendent for each of its district goals, these may serve the purpose of district performance indicators. What is important is for the board and superintendent have some indicators that clarify what will count as progress toward a district goal in the coming year.

What should I do if I have a question that isn't answered here?

Please contact us at lts@tasb.org for assistance.