Sunday, October 16, 2011

Superintendent Evaluation PRONTO

At the Board meeting of Wednesday, October 19, the Board will both introduce and adopt their Superintendent Evaluation Instrument.

It is, on the whole, a better considered evaluation tool than they have used before. It has some elements that I really like. It is also missing a few things that I would like to see it include.

I encourage you to read it for yourself and reach your own opinion. Then send that opinion to the Board within the next two days because that's when they will be voting on it. So be quick about it.

The Board used to have a policy that called for them to introduce motions at one meeting and vote on them at a subsequent meeting. This practice allowed time for the public to make comment on motions before the Board. I thought it was a good policy. The current board, however, must not have liked it. They must have thought it was a bad idea. They repealed it.

Of course, it is possible that they repealed it without knowing that they had repealed it. But that would suggest that they are not being careful as they revise their policies. To carelessly revise and repeal policies would be one of the most irresponsible things a board could do and I don't think I could presume that of our district leadership.

Anyway, the Board has brought this motion for introduction and action at the same meeting. This affords the public a scant two days to make comment on it. So do be quick if you have anything to say.

Here's what I like:
The Board has identified some specific outcomes to the Superintendent's Four Pillars of Success. It can't be just vague talk. It has to have results. Among these:

  • All principals trained in the new principal evaluation tool
  • All principals completing evidenced-based evaluations for teachers
  • Review Advanced Learning programs district-wide to ensure consistency in program offerings, specifically Spectrum
  • Increase partnerships with Seattle Council Parent Teacher Student Association (SCPTSA) 
  • Review and refine the central office performance evaluation tool

There are some specific academic outcomes that I like, especially this one:

  • Assess the implementation of Integrated Comprehensive Services (ICS)
There are some Governance Team items that will be checked for completion. Among them:
  • Develop a comprehensive timeline for budget development that includes a community 
  • engagement tool
  • Develop an instructional materials waiver policy.
  • Develop and implement an intermediate capacity management plan
There are some evaluation points around Core Competencies but they are just blather.

What's missing, of course, is any reference to the superintendent's duties as listed in Policy 1640. Shouldn't the superintendent's evaluation also consider if she:

  • Carr(ied) out and ensure(d) compliance with all policies of the Board of Directors through administrative procedures
  • Regularly report(ed) to the Board all aspects of the district’s educational program
  • Prepare(d) and present(ed) reports on the educational program as required.

and the other duties as well?

Still, on the whole, it is a better tool than the Board has yet devised. It is focused on getting work done, and I really like that.

What do you think? Think fast.


dan dempsey said...


I see you like many things. As for me I am missing seeing the Evaluation Instrument .... Goals yes .. but this is not an instrument to measure and evaluate much of anything.

My testimony for Wednesday Oct 19.. HERE.

Dorothy Neville said...

FWIW, the board does realize the intro/action is less than ideal. However the board also wants to have something effective, unlike past evaluations. In order to do that, they MUST give Susan time to know what she will be evaluated on and this evaluation is interim -- it will guide decision making in whether or not to offer her the job permanently. So we are in an atypical situation. I think at least some board members would like something with teeth, something actionable and therefore it needs to happen fast, so they can feel comfortable evaluating poorly (if that were called for.)

I am not trying to defend the board here, just trying to explain their discussions about this.

Charlie Mas said...

The Board and Dr. Enfield have already had a number of Executive Sessions devoted to Superintendent Evaluation. She has been in the job for six months. For them to suddenly feel some urgency around telling her how she will be evaluated?

I'm not buying it.

Dorothy Neville said...

I believe the idea is that this is what she is to be evaluated on *this year*. I think the normal calendar would have them decide in the Fall what accomplishments they want to see by June. This year they want an interim evaluation for January and thus the timeline doesn't work. What they should have done was to have sped up the process, but they take summers off AND the September Retreat sets the board agenda for the school year.

So they cannot really set the performance metrics until after the September retreat. And ordinarily, spending the time to create the evaluation tool in the Fall makes sense, we are rushed because we want the interim evaluation.

dan dempsey said...

In regard to an evaluation of the interim Superintendent....
Does the Board have anything more actionable than the three asterisked items of 20?

10. (*) Convene a district/community task force to review discipline practices and reduce rates of long-term, out-of-school suspensions.

11. (*) Develop an instructional materials waiver policy.

12. (*) Develop and implement an intermediate capacity management plan and proposed long-term planning to manage increasing enrollment.


Dorothy thanks for the explanations of the discussions for those of us that were not there on October 12 for Executive Committee meeting discussions..

The Executive Committee meets once a month (on the 2nd Wednesday) and lists a duty of "Draft superintendent evaluation materials for board and manage the superintendent evaluation process" ... the Executive Committee should have acted a lot sooner.

The Action Report states:
((Policy Nos. 1630 and 1640))
In order to evaluate the Superintendent using a fair process, the evaluation instrument is approved at the beginning of the year so that the Superintendent knows the expectations of the Board.

The School year for students began with the first day of school on September 7, 2011 ...... there was an executive meeting on September 14, 2011 ..... Now the action that should have originated at the Executive Meeting on August 10, 2011 (for intro on 8-17-2011 and action on Sept 7,) is being rushed through in a one meeting action push on October 19....

The Board continues to be remiss in following policies (and demonstrates little ability to use a calendar) ... So little wonder that a supposed "evaluation tool" puts little emphasis on the Superintendent enforcing Board Policies or WA State Laws.

and so it goes ... look for more State Auditor's Office reports of findings.

dan dempsey said...

Like Charlie.... I am not buying it.

The interim Superintendent was appointed in Early March and the Board just figured that she needed no real evaluation metrics until Mid October.... and maybe no real evaluation metrics even now.

Anonymous said...

c'mon! the board is growing up!

last minute agendas and last minute notices and last minute votes ...

just like olympia and congress!

I guess all those leadership conferences are


Jack Whelan said...

Even if SE meets all the evaluation criteria, it doesn't means she's the best person for the job. I hope we don't get into the mindset that we have to "fire" SE in order to hire someone else. We should have open competition for the job, and how she compares to other candidates will be more important than whether she meets whatever these evaluation criteria are.

Anonymous said...

its veeeery interesting the bit about waivers policy. they are using this to try to get her to do something they want and she doesn't.

chris s

dan dempsey said...

There are an incredible amount of problems with this proposed superintendent evaluation instrument. It is typical of the poor performance by these directors.

The 7-6-2010 audit found the School Board and executive management must improve oversight of District operations ... this proposed Evaluation Tool is another failure to Supervise the Superintendent.

Baa Hum Bug.

From the Washington State Auditor’s Office report July-6-2010:
….. “Quote”
RESULTS Overarching Conclusion

Our audit found the School Board and executive management must improve oversight of District operations.

We noted several instances in which public assets were misappropriated or susceptible to misappropriation due to
(1) lack of effective policies,
(2) management’s failure to enforce existing policies and/or
(3) inadequately trained staff.

The Board and District management are not as familiar with state and federal law on school district operations and on the use of grant funds as the public would expect. As a result, the District exposes itself to greater risk of loss of federal funds and increases the risk for non-compliance with laws and regulations.

Charlie Mas said...

Curious point. At his recent community meeting, I mentioned to Director Sundquist that the board had repealed the policy for introducing motions at one meeting and voting on them at another meeting and he seemed genuinely surprised to learn that.

I choose to disbelieve that he did not know that they repealed the policy. I choose to disbelieve that the board has acted so rashly and carelessly.

dan dempsey said...

So ... "I mentioned to Director Sundquist that the board had repealed the policy for introducing motions at one meeting and voting on them at another meeting and he seemed genuinely surprised to learn that."


It is all part of the Community Dis-Engagement Plan.

Charlie Mas said...

The repeal of the policy that called for introducing motions at one meeting and voting on them at a subsequent meeting was mentioned at the candidate forum tonight at Madison Middle School. When one of the challengers mentioned it - I believe it was Michelle Buetow - all of the incumbents got a puzzled look on their faces as if they didn't know that they had repealed the policy.