The Norwood School Committee began a voluntary training program through the state this month designed to help school officials bring improvements to student achievement through more cooperation.
According to the Massachusetts Association of School Committees website, a number of districts were invited to participate in the program, which works to streamline boards and administrators.
It focuses on "continuous improvement" and building "greater understanding of both the distinct roles and responsibilities of the school committee and district superintendent as well as promote new strategies for teamwork and collaboration to enhance student achievement," a program pamphlet said.
Norwood School Committee chairman Paul Samargedlis said he decided to have the board participate in the program over the next 18 months as an exercise of "self evaluation."
Over the past several months, the committee has been plagued with what Samargedlis calls "negative headlines." He said he hoped the training would shift focus away from the negative and create cohesiveness.
The recent headlines include the resignation of committee member William Plasko Jr. following his arrest in October on charges of breaking and entering and sexual assault, and the controversy at a special Town Meeting in November over the size and responsibility of the committee.
Samargedlis said the committee's participation is about more than just changing public perception of the panel.
"This was one of my first moves when I took over as chair," he said. "[But] even if none of these things had happened, I thought it would help us be a more efficient committee and better serve our constituents and students."
Natalie Feulner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.