Mains Lays Groundwork For First Year At JPS

In his first week as the new head of Jamestown Public Schools, Tim Mains has hit the ground running.

After officially taking over as JPS superintendent on Thursday, Mains has submitted an entry plan for the transition into his new role with the district.

The main focus of the plan centers on a series of listening and learning activities, which will necessitate several meetings with both internal and external stakeholders. In the plan, Mains states that this will enable him to make short- and long-term decisions that will reflect the community’s priorities, and that are in the best interest of JPS students.

Mains’ entry plan has five areas of concentration: governance, organizational capacity and alignment, teaching and learning, operations and finance, and community and public relations.

“I view the school system as one of the community’s primary assets,” said Mains. “I believe it’s important for me, as the leader of this organization, to be well-connected with leaders out in the community. We want to make sure we have a good rapport and relationship with them. I want them to know that my door is always open and available, and the best way to communicate that is personally. My hope is to begin to forge the relationships that will serve the schools and the community in the future.”

Mains also outlined his intention to review JPS data, processes and policies in order to gain a thorough understanding of the district; including its strengths and challenges, its core business of teaching and learning, its business systems, its culture and its partnerships with the community.

While Mains expects his entry plan to evolve throughout the course of his first year as superintendent, the plan’s framework contains four benchmarks – 30, 90, 180 and 365 days from the beginning of his term – intended to measure progress along the way.

The 30-day mark signifies the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, for which Mains said he must be prepared to welcome back staff and students. Within 90 days, Mains said he plans to report the results of his initial scoping to the Board of Education and members of the community. In six months, he will begin building his first JPS budget and, within a year, the district will need to have negotiated a number of contracts with JPS bargaining units.

“I have some immediate goals to ensure that I get this school year launched with everyone focused in the same direction,” Mains said. “I believe you get more accomplished with a very specific focus, so part of my job is to make sure we’re focused on the right things.”

According to Mains, the right things the district must be focused on are student achievement and effective learning.

“I’m going to begin my stint here making sure that we have a very clear focus about teaching and learning, and I’m going to communicate that to my entire staff by holding an opening-school convocation on the first day the staff comes back. I’ll have a chance to address everyone, talk about the year to come and give them a sense of the vision that I have in terms of what I think is possible.”

Mains said the other thing that will dominate his tenure is a strong belief in the power and value of collaboration. In keeping with the tradition of his predecessor, Deke Kathman, Mains said he will be meeting with Joe DiMaio, board president, prior to the board’s next meeting on Tuesday to ensure that they are both on the same page. This will be Mains’ first board meeting as acting superintendent.

Mains pledges to solicit input and ideas from elected officials, parents, teachers, students, principals, employee groups, business leaders and others through a series of private meetings and public forums in August and throughout the school year. There will also be a major effort to communicate with the public through the news media and the Jamestown Public Schools’ website. Mains will visit all Jamestown schools during the first week of the school year to obtain a close-up look at the needs and expectations of students, teachers and parents.

Mains’ entry plan can be viewed from JPS’ website at www.jamestownpublicschools.org. It is linked to the new article entitled, “JPS Superintendent Tim Mains Releases Entry Plan.”