Dowagiac’s Board of Education receives training on superintendent evaluations
DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac Union Schools’ board of education received training from the Michigan Association of School Boards on Monday night about how to do a superintendent evaluation.
Jay Bennett of MASB helped outline the evaluation tool, which the board will use later this year when they evaluate Superintendent Jonathan Whan.
“This is an interesting position for most of you as board members to be in,” Bennett said. “There are some exceptions, but most of you do not have lengthy experience in K-12 education. The prospect of evaluating a trained educator can be daunting. As we go through the training, we will make sure it’s not.”
According to the law, superintendents are required to be evaluated annually.
“This is different than the evaluations of your teachers and administrators,” Bennett said. “Your teachers and administrators have to be evaluated by the end of the school year.”
Bennett said a superintendent can be evaluated any time of the year, but it has to be completed and submitted by the board every year.
Multiple aspects are included in a superintendent evaluation. Several measures of student growth account for 40 percent of the evaluation. An MASB instrument covers 50 percent of the evaluation and a final measure of progress completed toward goals makes up the last 10 percent of the evaluation.
“99.9 percent of what you are going to evaluate your superintendent on is in this instrument,” Bennett said, holding up the MASB evaluation instrument outlined in a packet. The Dowagiac school district is required by law to post information on its website regarding the evaluation tool being used.
When Bennett referred to student growth, he explained its need to be aggregated growth of the entire district and said it must be measured using the same model building administrators are using for teacher evaluations.
Bennett said when MASB refers to student growth, it means the measurements between two points in time.
“So, how this year’s fifth graders did as fourth graders, did as third graders, did as second graders,” Bennett said. “Are we seeing that growth in those classes?”
When using the evaluation instrument, MASB outlines five performance categories: governance and board relations, community relations, staff relations, business and finance, instructional leadership.
Last spring, Whan said he received an evaluation of effective from Grant Public Schools Board of Education.
If a superintendent is deemed to be highly effective for three consecutive annual evaluations, a board can choose to conduct an evaluation every other year instead of annually, Bennett said.
“However, MASB does not recommend that you never not evaluate your superintendent,” he said.
If a superintendent is deemed minimally effective, the board must develop and require an improvement plan.
On Nov. 18, the Dowagiac Union Schools’ board of education Regular Meeting will include a closed session in the Dowagiac Middle School cafeteria.
“It’s a year-end evaluation. It is a yearlong process,” Bennett said. “Yes, the evaluation officially happens at the end of the year. November or December for you, but that’s not the only time you should be talking about the evaluation.”