Commissioner wants to tie superintendent evaluations, board self-reviews to college/career readiness

The following item was included in Education Commissioner Terry Holliday’s Aug. 26 Fast Five on Friday e-mail to education leaders around the state:

Superintendent Evaluations and Local School Board Self-Evaluations

At the August Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) meeting, my annual evaluation was completed. Over the past month I have seen that many local boards and superintendents are completing the same process. The KBE has also expressed an interest in local board evaluations.

Over the past two years I have mentioned the issue of superintendent evaluations on numerous occasions at speeches and in my weekly blogs. This is a perfect time for local boards and superintendents to look carefully at the goals and measures for superintendent evaluation and local school board self-evaluation of key processes.

I would strongly recommend a couple of components that will be included in my evaluation. My evaluation for the 2011-12 school year will continue to include relationship building as evidenced by district/school visits and connections with the General Assembly. Also, my 2011-12 goals will include specific measures for student achievement.

The AFGR should increase to 78 percent and the college/career readiness rate is to increase to 40 percent. Every superintendent and local school board chair signed the Commitment to College and Career Readiness that provided a trajectory for reaching our state goal of 67 percent of graduates college/career ready by 2015. I hope those specific targets will be used for superintendent and local school board goals.

Over the past few months we have been promoting strategies to help reach these specific targets. One strategy is college/career advising and specifically we are promoting Operation Preparation week, described below. Another strategy is a required strategy of targeted interventions. We hope every 9th grader, 11th grader, and high school senior who did not meet EXPLORE, PLAN or ACT benchmarks is being provided with targeted interventions to ensure college and career readiness.

Operation Preparation Week

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is committed to ensuring Kentucky’s students are college/career ready and prepared for success. As you know, effective advising is an important strategy to reach this goal. It is imperative that all Kentucky students receive the appropriate guidance to acquire the prerequisite knowledge and skills to be ready for college and/or career.

KDE and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet are joining forces for Operation Preparation, March 12-16. This week will focus attention on the importance of advising and provide a powerful opportunity for schools, students, parents and communities to collaborate in the college- and career-planning process.

Operation Preparation will provide every 8th- and 10th-grade student access to college/career advising. Using a student’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and EXPLORE/PLAN data, a community advisor will guide the student through a process that will help them prepare for their future as they move through high school and beyond. Potential advisors will receive training and be provided guidance on effective advising strategies to ensure a positive experience for all.

KDE will coordinate this project. With the support of various partners, KDE is developing a toolkit of resources to assist schools in the implementation of Operation Preparation. The toolkit will include a letter for soliciting community advisors, training materials, examples of how activities may be structured, sample press releases and promotional items, and an instrument to collect feedback from students and community advisors.

There are many details to work out with regard to volunteer screening and training, but we are announcing the initiative now so volunteers can start planning their schedules. Because this announcement received some media coverage, you may be contacted by individuals who wish to participate.

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