Gradual improvement in student graduation rates and math scores, and preparing to operate new middle schools are among the goals set Tuesday evening for School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck by the board of trustees.

Trustees met jointly with the SD2 leadership team to discuss priorities for the current year. The goals will be used as part of the annual superintendent evaluation.

Trustees expressed general support for the work Bouck has done and the direction his leadership team is moving.

“I know that this board’s heart is behind Terry,” said chair Allen Halter.

New goals replace a similar set developed two years ago — the only other time the district had formulated superintendent goals in recent memory, board chair Allen Halter said.

In 2012, planning for facilities, passing levies, reducing overcrowding and building up budget reserves were among the top priorities. With most of the old goals achieved, the new goals put additional focus on learning outcomes and preparing to switch to a new grade-level configuration for middle schools.

They include:

Increasing the proportion of students who score proficient in math on the NWEA MAP test by 2 percent this year.

Raising the cohort graduation rate by 2.5 percent, to 85 percent, for the class of 2015.

Complete district strategic plan.

Develop a regular curriculum and textbook adoption cycle and budget.

Maintain budget reserve fund.

Prepare for transition to new K-5/6-8 elementary/middle school model.

Secure external funding for STEM curriculum.

Communicate with board, schools and community.

The goals were approved Tuesday in concept only; the specific language will be refined.

With trustees and district leadership in general agreement, the discussion drifted to reflection on how district goals should be used to aid progress.

Board members discussed the value of pursuing steady growth toward educational goals versus achieving specific benchmarks. Halter wondered whether pursuing a graduation rate of 100 percent was realistic and useful, prompting a conversation about other options for students who fall behind in class.

Districtwide goals should be viewed as targets for the schools, not as mandates, Bouck said.

“There needs to be support,” he said. “There needs to be assistance if you don’t make it.”

Broader district goals will be set next spring as one result of an ongoing strategic planning process.

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