by Aaron Brom
Sun Press Newspapers
The Buffalo Dist. 877 School board heard about a new principal evaluation process that will go into effect next school year.
The board also heard pilot programs the physical education department want to implement to increase student activity, and heard an update about Community Education summer programs.
Dist. 877 Teaching and Learning Director Pam Miller shared with the school board that changes and updates are being made to the principal evaluation process because of legislative changes.
The new evaluation process will go into effect for the 2013-14 school year.
The framework for the evaluation involves an annual evaluation as a part of a three-year cycle of performance improvement. The Director of Teaching and Learning evaluates lead principals and principals evaluate the assistant principals.
During the first year principals undergo a full evaluation of the seven core competencies (strategic leadership, instructional leadership, managerial leadership, cultural leadership, communications leadership, school community leadership, and ethical and professional leadership). The evaluation includes four formal meetings (where goals are set, feedback is given and evaluation is done), informal observations and surveys of licensed and non-licensed staff.
Unless the supervisor has determined significant concerns about a principal’s overall performance, they will move onto the professional growth plan of the cycle in years two and three. Information gathered from the first year will be used to develop their plans. The plan must include one of the competencies for the principal to focus on. Those who do not meet performance expectations will have a remedial plan created to address the areas that need improvement.
In other news, each curriculum program around the district (such as math, science, and English) is a part of a continuous improvement process. There are seven parts to the process —Reflect, Research, Pilot, Implement, Adjust, Monitor and Evaluate.
Members of the physical education department from around the district, Marci Wills (elementary level), Jen Nichols (middle school level), and Jason Karn (high school level) presented information about national obesity trends, learning readiness and brain learning. This information helps them formulate a recommended program improvement action plan for the next phase of the continuous improvement process (pilot).
One of the challenges they are facing is finding enough time for physical education and physical activity for the students each day. At the elementary level, some schools get more than others and how can that be more even across the district. At the middle school, the challenge is to get all students (especially non-athletes) active and interested in moving. At the high school, they are trying to focus on getting kids moving and teaching them life-long activities.
They will come back to the board with future recommendations of pilot programs to try to address some of the challenges they face.
In further matters, Community Education Director Kim Carlson reported on the upcoming summer programming through Community Ed.
This is the fourth year of Summer Sun Block programs. She reported that some changes would happen such as kindergarten students will stay in one class with one teacher rather than moving around and changing teachers. The remedial reading and math classes will continue to be referral-only classes. This program is free for students in grades 1-6 thanks to Targeted Services funding. Those students can also choose classes in Sun Block free of charge and take advantage of the centralized transportation.
Carlson also reported that they are increasing their marketing efforts to get people aware of the programs they have to offer. The summer catalog is also scheduled to come out a couple weeks earlier to promote early registration. They continue to offer a variety of other summer programs such as SPARK, swimming lessons, Middle School 101 and summer camps such as arts magnet and mock trial.