The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education called a special meeting to discuss the superintendent evaluation process on Sept. 30.
Developed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the superintendent evaluation process is conducted within school districts annually. The board discussed how to use the superintendent evaluation process to set further goals and build a relationship between board members and the superintendent.
Ken Soo, a public school law expert, led a training for the school board about the process of filling out the state's evaluation rubric, which uses seven standards to gauge the success and potential objectives of superintendents.
“You really get to use these descriptions of practices in adapting them to the goals you set,” Soo said. “If you have an equity-focused goal, that informs these items that you’re going to be looking at on the evaluation instrument.”
Board chairperson Jillian La Serna stressed the importance of a positive, cooperative relationship between the board and Superintendent Nyah Hamlett during the evaluation process.
“To be sure that there’s a common understanding, if the superintendent is identifying this element as part of the professional goals for the school year, what would Dr. Hamlett think that looks like?” La Serna said. “And then what does that look like to the board?”
The superintendent evaluation process is intended to be cyclical, with superintendent self-evaluation, ratings by the board, board and superintendent meetings and yearly goal-setting.
Hamlett entered CHCCS during a challenging time for school systems, with schools transitioning online due to COVID-19 and student performance on state assessments dropping during the 2020-21 school year.
This is Hamlett's first year completing the evaluation process with the CHCCS Board of Education, meaning they do not have rubric-based goals from a previous year to reference.
"I have a lot of empathy for those of you who have had to teach and still have to teach in a virtual format," Soo said. "It makes for a very dry audience – you can't get a lot of that kind of feedback."
CHCCS board member Mary Ann Wolf said she wants Hamlett to be realistic about what she can achieve as superintendent, particularly due to the constraints of the pandemic.
"The way those goals are crafted this year is going to be even harder than most years with the unknown and with where energy and time have had to be spent," Wolf said.
As Hamlett's relationship with the board grows and she establishes herself as a mainstay in the CHCCS community, the evaluation process will become simpler because there will be a baseline for future performance reviews.
“I think that tonight we were able to get a look at kind of the circular nature of the process, that really what happens one year feeds the future years,” La Serna said.
A provisional goal drafted by Hamlett includes closing the student performance gaps that increased during the pandemic by developing and implementing "Strategic Plan 2027."
Soo said CHCCS implementing the strategic plan would "result in growth and improved achievement for students."
The board also adopted a declaration during the meeting called the Leandro Resolution, which condemns state lawmakers for failing to provide a "sound basic education" for minority and lower-income children in particular.
The resolution urges the N.C. General Assembly to adopt the policies laid out in the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan, including standards for teacher and principal development, along with significant and stable funding increases for school districts, especially for at-risk students.
The plan also creates an assessment and accountability system for student performance, high-quality prekindergarten learning opportunities and an alignment of high school to postsecondary and workforce learning opportunities.
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