Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ohio Superintendent Evaluation System

The Ohio Superintendent Evaluation System is a voluntary mechanism by which a school board may objectively evaluate a Superintendent. It was first used in Worthington in 2011 and will be used for the second time this coming school year of 2013-2014.

Step One of the system is to create a job description for the Superintendent. While the job description might get edited over time, it is not expected to change much from year to year. Since I was Board President in 2011, the task of writing the job description was mine. Fortunately, the state does provide a template, but school boards are encouraged to alter the template based on local requirements. Worthington's Superintendent Job Description can be found here with the local criteria scattered throughout the first few pages of the document. The Superintendent's evaluation will consist partially of how well he (or she) accomplished the various tasks in the job description.

Step Two of the system is for the Board of Education, Administrators and the Superintendent to agree on a set of achievable, measurable annual goals. This is harder than it sounds. If the goals are very broad (e.g. "Students should learn more"), the Superintendent receives no guidance as to what is really desired. If the goals are very specific, the district focus might be so narrow as to be counterproductive. The goals must be achievable. It serves no purpose to provide an annual objective that is unattainable. The goals must be measurable so that a Superintendent can be fairly evaluated on whether or not they were accomplished. As a general rule, the goals should focus on the "what", not the "how".

Step Three of the system is for the Superintendent to report to the Board and the community in the middle of the school year on progress towards the goals. Step 4 is for the Board to complete the evaluation at the end of the year based on both the Superintendent's performance on items in the job description and the Superintendent's performance on meeting the annual goals with allowances for the inevitable distractions that the CEO of any large, complex organization faces day to day.

The Ohio Superintendent Evaluation System, in a nutshell, is the main vehicle by which the Board and the community sets clear expectations for the upcoming school year and holds the Superintendent accountable for the results.

How the Superintendent accomplishes these results is mostly up to the Superintendent and their administrative team. One methodology would be to include the district's goals in the annual Building Improvement Plans for each of our 18 buildings, or those buildings where it would be appropriate. This would allow the Superintendent and Central Office staff to hold the principals accountable for the goals in their buildings. That's just one methodology, there are many others.

This year, caution is very much called for because of changes occurring at the state level. Worthington will be implementing the Common Core state standards and the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. That may not leave a lot of administrative time and energy for local initiatives.

The Worthington Board of Education will meet in a work session on Saturday, August 10 at 1pm to discuss the 2013-2014 goals for the Superintendent as part of OSES. Please feel free to spend your Saturday with us, but if you'd prefer to offer your thoughts ahead of time, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.  I have tons of ideas for what our district's goals for the upcoming school year should be and I'd love to hear what you think.