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Hernando superintendent reviews accomplishments, data, says reorganization is coming

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County schools superintendent Lori Romano will soon submit a proposal to restructure the district's administration.

Details of the plan remain sparse.

Romano said she has asked her top administrators to provide ways they might restructure their departments and make them more efficient. She said she will present her proposal to the School Board next month.

The announcement came Tuesday night as part of a presentation to the board about her accomplishments during her first 100 days as superintendent.

The report, in keeping with Romano's style, is loaded with details. It documents her efforts to meet with community organizations, School Board members and school principals in the first months on the job. It documents her visits to schools, her town hall meetings, her efforts to determine the status of implementing Common Core State Standards, and includes a review of attendance data, graduation data, dropout data and other measurements.

Romano also presented a number of changes she has made in the way the district conducts its business. "There were some things that were not in place that we put in place," she said.

She created a Cabinet to advise her on a weekly basis. She made a number of tweaks to improve communication among people within the district and also among the district, School Board members and the community.

Before she arrived, Romano said, there was no process for routinely reviewing data by top members of the district staff. She created a data room at the district office and established a routine for reviewing, analyzing and formulating conclusions that will inform decisions.

She created a budget committee and also instituted a policy to review and revise outdated School Board policies.

Before going through her summary, she presented her first "state of the district" — a document that received rave reviews from School Board members.

The document shows the district has a lot of room for improvement.

For the 2012-13 school year, 14 of the district's 22 traditional schools dropped a letter grade in the annual state assessment, including all five high schools. Some would have dropped even further had it not been for a provision that prevents schools from dropping more than one letter. The district's Advanced Placement test scores also are on the decline. And the district's graduation rate is below the state average; the dropout rate is higher.

Romano said she presented these "challenges" because they represent the district's current reality and because she believes the district can improve.

"I think it's important that we are very transparent about the issues and concerns that we have," she said. "We need to own that data as a community. We don't need to say, 'Oh, it doesn't exist.' "

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Hernando superintendent reviews accomplishments, data, says reorganization is coming 01/15/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:18pm]
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