Audience participation

The Waseca School Board and Superintendent Tom Lee, pictured here in 2017, are working with Minnesota School Board Association for an evaluation system to set goals they all should meet in a year. (County News file photo)

Waseca School District will be the first in Minnesota to try A Goals‐ and Standards‐Based Superintendent Evaluation pilot program.

The School Board was presented with this superintendent evaluation program by the Minnesota School Board Association on Thursday, June 6. This program is only being used in the Waseca District and Thief River Falls.

“I think that’s going to be really helpful and we have it for our teachers and principals,” Superintendent Tom Lee said. “It works really well for teachers and principals. I’m excited that it seems like it will work really well for superintendents.”

This guide, along with the supporting resources, is designed to help School Board members and superintendents implement an effective, meaningful superintendent evaluation process that is focused on improving student achievement, according to MSBA website.

This program is to set standards for evaluating a school district superintendent while also staying consistent with the evaluation. The goals and standards that are set for the superintendent will start on July 1, 2019 and go for a year until June 30, 2020 when the person is evaluated on if they met and completed goals.

During the meeting, the School Board, Superintendent Tom Lee and MSBA representatives Dave Thompson and Sandy Gundlach brainstormed ideas of what these goals and standards should be. The current document is a draft that the board and Lee created to be brought back to them for adjustments.

“You’ve got a blueprint that is close to done. Focus on one or two items to focus for two goals for the next year,” Gundlach said of the goals the board already discussed.

After some discussion, the board and Lee decided on two preliminary performance goals.

The first would be to provide leadership to develop and implement a multi-year, comprehensive school district-wide staff development plan that aligns with the strategic plan priorities.

The second goal, part A, is to provide leadership to create strategies designed to solve licensing and staff recruitment issues. Goal two, part B, is to resolve contract negotiations for all employee work groups and at-will contracts.

“In the past, the focus has been on the business side and now it’s time to focus on education,” School Board Chairman Julie Anderson said.

On top of the two superintendent goals, the School Board came up with four goals for themselves to meet at that June 30, 2020 date.

The goals are to invest in ongoing board development/learning opportunities, support the implementation of the school district’s strategic plan, gain an understanding of the issues around mental health designed to support the school district’s strategic plan and support the superintendent’s goal of completing all contract negotiations by June 30, 2020.

A Goals‐ and Standards‐Based Superintendent Evaluation is a new pilot method that MSBA is setting Waseca School District up with.

In the past, there has not been a consistent way of evaluating the superintendent in Waseca. This style of goals and standards-based superintendent evaluation is meant to make the process simpler and to have a set criteria of what they are evaluating. These goals are set to align with the school district's strategic plan.

At the next School Board meeting on June 20, the board will have a revised draft plan back from MSBA to vote on. The board will also be voting on the strategic plan at a future meeting.

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey.

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