Ypsilanti schools OK new formats for teacher and superintendent evaluations
The Ypsilanti Board of Education unanimously approved on Monday a new comprehensive, rubric-based evaluation program for teachers. Meanwhile, the board also decided to adopt Ann Arbor Public Schools’ discussion-based model for evaluating Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin.
AnnArbor.com file photo
Typically, a superintendent’s evaluation is completed after the close of the school year or at the start of the new fiscal year, which for districts is July 1.
Board of Education President David Bates recommended the trustees stray from their typical evaluation process that, in the most recent past, has included each board member filling out a separate scoring assessment and comments sheet to be turned in to the district.
“It was my impression that the rubric caused more problems and friction than the value it contained,” Bates said. “It seemed to me, the candid discussion we had with (Martin) in the closed session was the most beneficial. So I would suggest that we follow the lead of the Ann Arbor school board... It appeared to work well for them and they appeared satisfied.”
The Ann Arbor Public Schools board has foregone written superintendent evaluations since about 2003. One of the reasons Bates gave for his recommendation to adopt this practice this year was the number of extra meetings the Ypsilanti school board members have been required to attend due to the district’s budget and financial issues, as well as its ongoing discussions with the community and neighboring district Willow Run for hashing out a possible consolidation of the districts.
From January through Monday, the Board of Education has gathered 29 times in official capacity, according to the district’s website. This is compared to 15 times between January and August of 2011.
Several school board members, a minimum of two per session, also have attended monthly meetings of the Joint Communication and Collaboration Task Force with Willow Run since August of 2011. And finally, once summer hit, the board trustees rotated duties and showed up when possible to the 10 community forums that were hosted to solicit community input on the potential merger of Ypsilanti and Willow Run.
Bates said he would schedule Martin’s evaluation for the Aug. 27 board meeting. If Martin requests a closed-session conversation, as the law permits him to do, the public will not be privy to the full details of the conversation.
Bates said he will take notes from the discussion and compile them to create a summary statement at the end of the superintendent evaluation that the board will be asked to adopt as Martin’s performance review, which is then placed in his personnel file.
Educator evaluations are a hot topic in Michigan right now. A new law mandates the creation of a statewide rating and evaluation system, and establishes a new set of requirements that must be implemented by the 2013-14 academic year.
Ypsilanti school board members also unanimously approved a new teacher evaluation tool and game plan for staff on Monday. The program outlines a number of steps and components leading to the ultimate overall evaluation. Each step has specific expectations.
The steps include: setting professional growth goals, a pre-observation conference with an administrator to review curriculum, observations, walk-throughs, the development of a student growth profile for each teacher, a mid-year student growth review, a mid-year evaluation review and the summative rating and resultant recommendations for further action.
School board members praised district leaders for putting together such a thorough evaluation system.
“I am very impressed with this program,” Bates said. “This is very comprehensive and yet clear and easy to understand. I am looking forward to seeing what you do with this system.”