The GPS strategic plan & superintendent evaluation

Thanks to some links passed along by School Committee Chair Adrienne Nunez in response to some of the questions I raised in my previous post regarding the operating model for Greenfield Public Schools, I now have a better picture of how the various pieces fit together.

The strategic plan for GPS can be found here. It is a short and straightforward document, and worth reading.

Created in 2015, the GPS Strategic Plan establishes four major objectives for the district:

  1. Ensure access to engaging, rigorous and aligned curriculum and instruction that address the full needs of every learner.
  2. Support high level of educator effectiveness through recruitment, professional development, and opportunities for collaboration.
  3. Effectively utilize and manage all available resources.
  4. Strengthen meaningful collaboration with families and community partners.

The plan breaks each of those objectives into a series of more detailed initiatives spread out over 1, 2, and 3-5 year timeframes.

On the evaluation side, evaluation of district superintendents follows a process laid out under the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation System. The Massachusetts Association of School Committees has created a rather thorough explanation of how the evaluation process works, but based on my initialing reading, it seems fairly similar to any number of standardized performance review frameworks:

  • The School Committee and the superintendent work together to establish the superintendent’s goals, both district and personal.
  • The Committee and the superintendent collect evidence over the course of the year as to how the superintendent is performing against the agreed upon goals.
  • There is is a mid-year check-in on progress.
  • At the end of the year, the School Committee and the superintendent report on final progress and the Committee produces its final evaluation of the superintendent’s performance.

Evaulation of the superintendent’s performance against the goals established at the start of the cycle is broken down into four standards that were created as part of the overall framework:

  1. Instructional Leadership
  2. Management and Operations
  3. Family and Community Engagement
  4. Professional Culture

These standards are broken down into a series of indicators, which are then further subdivided into elements. The overall process seems to give the local School Committee a reasonable amount of leeway in choosing wich standards, indicators, and elements it want to use (or not).

Based on my reading of all that and what I got from the January meeting of the School Committee, the back-and-forth between Superintendent Harper and the members of the Committee was about whether the goals in her draft are sufficiently aligned with the direction of the strategic plan. It sounds like they mostly are, but that there are some questions around the details.

I would hope that those questions get straightened out fairly quickly, as we are now past the halfway point in the 2017/2018 school year.