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BoE modifies evaluation criteria
Superintendent is assessed once per year
web Judy Scherer KEEP
Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer - photo by Photo provided.

In other news:

• The district is awaiting a copy of the county tax digest and anticipates presenting the board with a millage in its November meeting, Assistant Superintendent Jason Rogers said.

• The board previewed a draft calendar with 190 days for the 2012-13 school year, but it is subject to change pending upcoming legislative sessions and other input.

• The 120 new four-camera surveillance systems have been installed in the buses, Director of Transportation Tony Norce said. He showed the board how the software tracks bus data.

• The board also discussed phase-two design plans for the work at Olvey Field. More information on the topic will be in Sunday’s Courier.

After much discussion about modifications to the superintendent evaluation instrument during a Tuesday work session, the Liberty County Board of Education moved the topic to a called board meeting immediately after the session adjourned.

State law requires that every school board employee must be evaluated each academic year, but it gives systems leeway in creating evaluation standards, Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said during the meeting.

To maintain designation as a Georgia School Board of Distinction, the instrument must be submitted to the Georgia School Board Association by Oct. 1, Scherer said.

The Liberty County criteria were last updated two years ago, and evaluation instruments constantly are evolving to meet district needs, board Chairwoman Lily Baker said after the meeting.

“It is an evolving thing for most school systems because things change — this year, it may be that you’ve got a big construction project on the books and you want to make sure it comes in on time and under budget,” she said. “Your goal may be that you’ve got to increase math scores or science scores, and all of a sudden those scores may skyrocket, but your social studies scores may drop.”

During the discussion, Scherer sought to clarify what type of evidence she should provide to the board.

Scherer was hired in 2008 on a three-year contract with an annual salary of $185,000 minus furlough days, and she is serving on a renewed contract, which runs through June 30, 2014, at the same rate, she said.

The instrument requires Scherer to provide evidence related to four goal areas: academic achievement, fiscal responsibility, safety and security of facilities and stakeholder engagement.

“There was quite a bit of confusion this year about too much depth, not enough depth — that sort of thing,” the superintendent said.

In multiple lines, the evaluation criteria requires the administration to provide the board “with a presentation that provides” analyses of the system’s performance on a host of standardized tests, including the Georgia High School Graduation Test, each high school end-of-course test, the Criterion Referenced-Competency Test, SATs and ACTs.

The board also requested the information to be broken down by content area, grade level and subgroup and be summarized for the entire district.

“What I’m trying to get is clarity of what we want, and what you’re going to end up with is a pretty sizable notebook or file folder,” Scherer said. “And when I did that last year, I was told it was too much. It was overwhelming. You couldn’t look at all that.”

“I think that’s why an oral presentation would be good for us,” board member Becky Carter said. “With all the information we got, we needed direction, and we just didn’t have it, and it was very frustrating.”

Baker explained that Scherer does provide the board with reports on student progress as they become available, but that there’s a need to store the reports in one central location so a comprehensive file is available at evaluation time.

And that’s what Scherer has started to do, Baker added. The information will continue to be distributed throughout the year, and Scherer will provide oral and written summaries of the data to the board.

Members who would like to do deeper analysis will have access to the compiled file, she said.

“That is something that all of the board members want. We know we need the information. We know we must have it to do a good evaluation, but we want it in a condensed form that is easy for us to read and interpret,” the chairwoman said.

The board also requested a list of all suspensions and expulsions quantified by race and sex, Baker said. Additionally, they would like documentation about any presentations given by principals or administrators both in-house and at civic functions.

There still is some ongoing discussion about the evaluation timeline, Baker said. While there is no mandatory time to have an evaluation completed, the Liberty County BoE usually completes them in June.

 This year, the board began the evaluation in June and did not finish it until August because it was waiting on test score reports, Baker said.

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