Kentucky School Advocate
Advocate Staff report
A previously little-noticed feature of KSBA’s paperless meeting service, eMeeting, is gaining more prominence with the new superintendent evaluation process that most school districts will use. The evaluation instrument, devised by the state education department and a steering committee of stakeholders, is set to be used during the 2015-16 school year. Districts are using this school year to learn more about it.
As goals are set for the superintendent as part of the annual evaluation, he or she is to collect examples – called “artifacts” –of how these goals are being met throughout the year. These are then reviewed by the school board when the formal evaluation is done. While the state education department has an online system for uploading these, some of them may also dovetail with eMeeting use, said Kim Barker, KSBA’s eMeeting manager.
The eMeeting template that is used to build meeting agendas has a “goals” feature. “You can add as many goals as you want to, you can label them anything you want,” Barker said. For example, the major standards in the new KDE evaluation model could be listed as goals.
Agenda items that cover superintendent actions that apply to those goals can be linked to the appropriate goal, which can then be viewed by board members. Additional information about each “artifact” can be included in a couple of different ways. As the board prepares for its annual superintendent evaluation, the eMeeting manager can print out a detailed report containing the year’s worth of information relating to the goals as reflected in the agendas, Barker said.
“We would like for it to be a help so during the year if there are items on the board agenda that also can be used in the superintendent’s evaluation, they can be linked,” she said.
This method of archiving steps taken toward meeting goals will not cover all the material the superintendent would present as part of an evaluation, but it will help, she added.
Up until now, many of the 77 districts that use eMeeting had not used the feature, but KSBA’s Policy Service, which is responsible for eMeeting, is trying to get the word out about it, given its potential use for superintendent evaluations. It was explained in an eMeeting manager training last year and has been noted in written materials sent to districts. KSBA policy consultants also will discuss it during a clinic session on eMeeting during the KSBA Annual Conference, Feb. 27-March 1.
Meanwhile, it’s now known that the overwhelming majority of Kentucky school boards have told KDE they will be using the department’s superintendent evaluation model. Dr. Tommy Floyd, the agency’s chief of staff, said only a few have requested to use a different system, but would not name those districts.
“As we’ve promised from the beginning, we would always allow a local tool to be presented for review,” he said. “Our goal is to give them feedback to align their tool so that it gives the same kind of feedback to the board (as the KDE model).”
If a local model is approved, he said, it “would be just as recognized as anything else because it is aligned with the work of the steering committee.”
The Simpson County school board is one of those few that have asked to use a different model – in this case, the KSBA superintendent evaluation tool the district has been using for the past seven years.
Board Chairman David Webster, who is on KSBA’s Board of Directors, said the Simpson board feels the new KDE model is more complicated and requires more work for both the superintendent and the board.
The KSBA version, he said, “has the same information, except it’s condensed to where it answers all the questions and fulfills what KDE wants, but it would be a lot simpler for us to do.”