Framework for Progress

Please click to view, A Framework for Progress 2023-2025

February 5, 2024 

Dear members of the SAU 39 Community,  

I am humbled and privileged to serve the Amherst and Mont Vernon communities as Superintendent of Schools.  

In SAU 39, we have committed ourselves to engage, challenge, and support all learners. We will create schools with the optimum balance of high academic expectations while ensuring deep care for the student’s social and emotional well-being.

Like most, our school districts are navigating the new realities of our current post-pandemic, hyperconnected, global society. Input from community members and the boards about the importance of developing a strategic plan is not lost on me. Reviewing the work of the last three superintendents has been valuable. I hope that this Framework for Progress serves as a foundation for developing an effective, operational, and difference-making strategic plan for each district in the future. The fully developed plan will provide the overarching direction and goals for the SAU, allowing each school to develop site-specific goals and action steps. I will work with the boards to develop the timeline and process for developing this strategic plan. 

The following goals serve as foundation work for this Framework for Progress:

  • Gain an understanding of:
    • The present level of performance of all the schools in SAU 39. 
    • The community's thoughts and insights on the strengths and opportunities for growth in SAU 39. 
    • The faculty and staff insights and thoughts on the strengths/opportunities for growth in SAU 39.
  • Engage in a visioning process: Support the Board's work by leading the leadership team in discussing priorities and planning for the next 1-2 years, including but not limited to:
    • A focus on literacy
    • Continued work on educator effectiveness 
    • Increasing instructional time
    • Emphasis on research and evidenced-based instructional strategies
    • Building trust

  • Develop a plan to increase and improve communication with the community as the district strives to partner with the community on the mission of SAU 39, SAU, and district initiatives, the budget, data, and policies. 

  • Develop and present budgets prioritizing student learning, specifically instructional strategies. 
  • Evaluate the current structure of the summer professional development program for the specific needs of the students, staff, school, and district goals aligned with the priorities of SAU 39. 

Simultaneous with this planning, we are engaging, supporting, and challenging our students. The Framework for Progress serves as a bridge to the fully developed strategic plan. Please know that we are working with a sense of urgency, increasing our pace of change, as our students are counting on us to do.  

I set out to develop this Framework for Progress to highlight and communicate the good work that has occurred and is ongoing in the Amherst, Mont Vernon, and Souhegan Cooperative School districts.  

Professionals everywhere in education talk about personalized learning, but in SAU 39, we are set up to make the educational experience truly individualized for our students. That means that educators must be attuned to the strengths and needs of each child in their classrooms and create a vast toolkit of strategies for reaching every child. Our SAU has the resources to achieve academic excellence while caring for the whole student. 

The urgency of these realities is why I set out to develop this Framework for Progress. I wanted to highlight and communicate the good work that has occurred and is ongoing in the Amherst, Mont Vernon, and Souhegan School districts. I wanted to narrow energies and remove distractions that impede learning and negatively impact the educational experience of our students. There should be a certain amount of autonomy from school to school and district to district, allowing for individual creativity, different implementations, or unconventional methods. The Framework for Progress is the North Star all our schools will align to. All work has to connect to this destination. The framework is not a reform effort; it is an improvement effort. 

And so, as superintendent, it is my pleasure to present an update on our collective work: A Framework for Progress 2023-2025.

SAU 39 is poised to achieve great things in the coming years as we strengthen the educational environment for all our students and educators. I do not doubt that together, we can make this ambitious journey a reality. I invite you to join me with confidence as we take on this challenge. 

We welcome your ongoing feedback and look forward to partnering with you.


Michael Berry

Superintendent of Schools