Johnstown’s superintendent presents ideas

JOHNSTOWN – Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Robert DeLilli said last week he would like to brainstorm ways to improve the district.

DeLilli reported to the Board of Education at Johnstown High School he attended a recent superintendent conference where 25 districts nationwide identified as “rapidly improving schools” were discussed.

He said the districts sometimes had high poverty rates and low graduation rates, but they turned around their situations through “common threads.”

As an example, DeLilli mentioned the Brockton, Mass. school district near Boston, which was able to turn itself around academically. He said the district is generally a poor one, and there are 57 nationalities among the families in the district.

DeLilli said that district used “common sense approaches” to tackling its problems.

“With the Boston model, they had students write 10 minutes a day- math through music,” DeLilli said. “Their improvement was within one year.”

DeLilli said the Brockton district turned itself around from one of the lowest achieving high schools in Massachusetts to one of the highest.

He said the Johnstown school system is not in the same situation as the Brockton district, but the latter district can be used as a template for positive change locally.

“You hear some of these things and you start to run some of these things over in your head,” he said.

Over the summer, DeLilli said his office will especially concentrate on: K-12 literacy, K-12 math skills, students with disabilities, and graduation rates, which he termed also an “elementary issue.” He said he would like to zero in on these issues, focus the district more and make strides.

In the next few months, he will be copying information for board members about improvements.

DeLilli said he also may arrange for the Brockton High School principal to come to Johnstown to speak.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

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