WILMINGTON — As the 2019-2020 school year opens, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Glenn Brand has proposed updates to Superintendent evaluation methodology.
According to Brand, recent guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education suggests a new breakdown of goal categories. These include one professional practice goal, one student learning goal, two to four district improvement goals, and six to eight aligned indicator goals.
At this point in time, according to Brand, use of the new alignment is simply an option open for deliberation by the School Committee.
“You don’t have to, but certainly you can,” said Brand, “and if you are interested in it, then I would be very interested as well, too.”
Brand stated that his professional practice goal is to extend his personal involvement and presence in the schools. He intends to schedule one visit to each school per month, which is what he did last year.
He didn’t, from a logistical standpoint, have enough time to attend every staff meeting. He said he hopes his involvement in these meetings extends beyond just attendance.
One of the stated goals of his attendance at these meetings is “…being able to identify themes or opportunities for areas for further growth from the use instructionally of this time that contractually teachers have to attend.”
Brand also said that his increased involvement would extend to department meetings. He said that last year, he had some opportunities to attend these meetings, but he was not able to attend consistently across the board. He categorized these meetings as an opportunity to discuss the district, at least at the secondary level, from a systems standpoint, as well as an opportunity to be present and hear about work transpiring with regards to the district strategic plan.
The student learning goal, according to Brand, is tied in closely with the district strategic plan, and focuses on inclusion, diversity, and equity.
The three district improvement goals include working with town entities to study facilities conditions throughout the district and address issues where they exist, launching of a Superintendent’s Advisory Committee comprised of stakeholders, and developing an annual report for the community that summarizes performance data and achievements throughout the district.
“We have an opportunity and a need to expand communication between stakeholder groups and community groups,” said Brand.
The aligned indicator goals would remain in the four category format in which they were presented last year: instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement, and professional culture.
Committee member MJ Byrnes stated that, though she was trying to visualize exactly what the annual report would look like, she thought it would be a good tool for the community.
“I like it, and I would like you to find that rhythm with something like this,” Byrnes said.
She suggested that such a report be released in the fall, before budget season.
Brand added that the community report would be similar in many ways to the town annual report. He suggested that data-related parts could likely be streamlined with a predetermined structure.
“The action piece is coming up with a template that establishes a report that pulls together different data that can be refreshed on an annual basis,” said Brand.
Committee member David Ragsdale suggested that if the new rubric is adopted, evaluation should focus on subjects on which the committee has reliable evidence, and that can therefore be properly evaluated. He added that this was an asset of the new proposed alignment.
“We’re not flies on the wall in the day-to-day running of the office,” Ragsdale said.