CHAPEL HILL- Beginning this year, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will implement a new five-year long-term plan to improve school and teacher performance.

Superintendent Tom Forcella says the new plan includes a new vision for the district.

“The prior plan ran it’s course, so we spent a lot of time over the last, especially year and a half, looking at what the new vision would be what the direction would be and what the specific action will be for the successor plan” Forcella said.

The five-year plan has five overarching goals including eliminating achievement gaps, involving the community, improving professional development and training, ensuring accountability, and promoting instructional excellence.  Currently Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools rank among the top districts in the state, but Forcella says he wants to balance out the gap between students.

“We do know that our minority groups, our economically disadvantaged groups are ranked much lower in the state;” Forcella commented “so because our top is so high, it tends to mask the performance of some of our struggling groups and that is a major focus of this plan.”

One of the key areas that the new plan will focus on is instructor improvement and accountability.  School Board Chair Michelle Brownstein says she doesn’t want teachers to focus on merely reaching the minimum with their students.

“Yes, and also not settling for a targeted proficiency, which is really been the way things have been measured before, and that if you think about it that’s really the floor of achievement that we want for any child;” Brownstein said “it’s the bare minimum that’s acceptable and its not going to be enough for them to get jobs, even in our community, with our wonderful business people that are here.”

A way to motivate teachers is a new training plan that will allow teachers to receive raises based on the training and development that they have completed.  Forcella describes the training as similar to a merit system that rewards teachers for their improvement rather than length of service.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce president Aaron Nelson says the business community should support the changes.

“Designed a system to try to really help those teachers so they don’t have to remember back 20 years when they got their instruction on certain things, when they were in school, that we are going to have a culture of innovation, a culture of where getting smarter, getting better is rewarded;” Nelson said “the role of the business community and the broader community is to support these changes.”

The district will implement the five-year plan in stages through 2018.