OXFORD — Superintendent Dr. Jason McKinnon listed his new goals at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, September 10, and explained he will meet with a consultant who will review special education procedures and the Individualized Education Programs.

The board took no action on the superintendent’s goals, but approved Shipman and Goodwin as the town’s representative to address further issues on special education.

Dr. McKinnon explained Rebecca Santiago of Shipman and Goodwin is an excellent attorney with a soft touch when conversing with parents. The new representation will come at a higher cost; however, Dr. McKinnon stressed it was worth the investment.

He also told the board he will be meeting with a consultant who is reviewing the IEPs in the district. He added he sees value in the consultant observing special education instruction as well.

The consultant will work four days out of the month until December or January, depending how fast the process takes. She will give a presentation on her findings in late 2019 or early 2020.

Oxford Advocates for Special Education has been urging the school district for more than a year to address problems within the special education system.

Dr. McKinnon told the board he wants to see an overall synopsis of Oxford’s special education, not just a focus on the process and procedures manual, which was updated in May 2019, according to the district’s website.

Dr. McKinnon will conduct a first vision meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 1. He said parents are encouraged to attend the brainstorming session to help shape the district’s vision of the future.

His presentation during the board meeting included key metrics to target for the district, which include: increasing reading proficiency for the third grade, improve overall district report card, close achievement gaps of high-needs students, expand pathways and CTE opportunities, increase student achievement in math and science, decrease chronic absenteeism and focus more on social and emotional learning. He called the key metrics an item school officials need to focus on every year.

“I want to create a compelling vision with the Board of Education,” Dr. McKinnon said.

A survey is currently available to Oxford parents through the school district’s website in order to create district-wide strategies that will impact students’ performance and abilities.

Dr. McKinnon said the survey can help establish accountability for the school, classroom and district. His entry plan is also available on the website in a presentation that breaks down the specifics on his five preliminary goals.

In other news, the board approved two security vehicles donated to Oxford, which will be used by the two armed security officers. The cars are two Crown Victoria’s recently repaired for new.

Director of Finance Olga Simoes told the board the district had a surplus at the end of the last school year. The surplus was used to purchase new technology and supplies for classrooms.

She noted administrators had a busy summer, completing various projects at the schools and will continue to finish up into the fall.

The board noted the recent program on anti-vaping at both the middle and high school levels. Oxford High School Principal Dorothy Potter said Oxford Addictive Substances Information Services was involved in setting up the program, calling it a collaboration effort.

Two programs were held during the school day and a special program for parents took place in the evening on Thursday, September 12. Vaping and opioids continue to be an issue in Oxford.

Chair Susan O’Brien told Voices via email there was another meeting on September 12 with town officials and school staff to discuss the issue further.

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