At the November 16 School Committee meeting, Superintendent Maureen Binienda presented her self evaluation to the Committee in preparation for the Committee’s formal evaluation of her performance later this month. Superintendent Binienda’s self evaluation will provide the members of the committee with her rationale as to her personal assessment of her achieved goals, her areas of strength, and the areas in which she feels she could improve or further develop her skills and strategies. The goal of the School Committee is to ascertain that Ms. Binienda’s performance is addressing the needs of our student population and greater community.  Further, it is our obligation to support the Superintendent and to assist her in achieving her goals.

The expectation is that the role of the new superintendent includes spending time determining the immediate and future needs of the district and developing clearly defined goals and strategies to accomplish them. Additionally, it is expected that the superintendent will work with all stakeholders in the school system’s community for their critical input.  Also, in keeping with the goal of efficiency, she should plan a reasonable timetable within which to complete these goals.

The Superintendent is rated in three areas of performance:  Professional Practice Goals, Student Learning Goals, and District Goals. In the November 22nd edition of TWIW, my colleague, Mr. O’Connell, explains the formal evaluation process and the objectives of DESE(Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) on which school committee members will focus during the evaluation.  We will incorporate data provided by Ms. Binienda in her self evaluation as part of the process.

The Superintendent highlighted her successes since beginning her term as Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools. She attributes many of the successes she has had to her hands on approach. Whether it’s analyzing the district data, observing educator performance or building community partnerships-these are things which Binienda asserts she has been visibly present and involved.

For the Professional Practice Goal, Binienda gave herself a grade of “excelled”. This grade was based on the fact that she has completed all of the expectations required in the first year of the New Superintendent’s Induction Program. She attended all 8 of the cohort meetings in year one and the two meetings that have occurred to date for year two.

For the Student Learning Goal, Binienda’s goal was that the district identify and provide strategic intervention for all third, sixth, and tenth grade students that are at high risk and not meeting expectations for math and reading performance as measured by accountability standards by September 2017. She gave herself a grade of “met”. This goal was accomplished by focusing on interventions, planning and teamwork, strategic interventions, focus on assessment, focus on principal’s practice and summer and after school programs. These components have been vital in helping all of our students, and certainly for those students who are assessed as “high risk”. Educating our students to read at grade level, developing high level math skills, writing and critical thinking skills is critical to their success throughout their education and beyond.  The Superintendent’s attention to benchmarking has been critical in reaching this important and comprehensive goal.

The District Goals are the bulk of the evaluation and are comprised of two district improvement goals and four standards. Improvement Goal One was to create and sustain excellent instruction. This goal was given a grade of “met” and it is an on going collaborative effort throughout the district.

Improvement Goal Two was to provide a safe and supportive learning environment that incorporates acceptance and inclusiveness. For this goal the Superintendent gave herself a grade of “exceeded”.

Standard One is based on Instructional Leadership and includes subcategories of Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction, Evaluation and Data-Informed Decision Making. Items one through four were graded as “proficient” while data-informed decision making was given a grade of “exemplary”. Binienda referenced having significant focus on the use of data across the district since the Superintendent began her tenure and it is a key component to assessing our strengths as well as seeing the areas in which we need to improve. The overall grade for this Standard One given by the Superintendent was “proficient”.

Standard Two addresses Management and Operations and includes subcategories of Environment, Humans Resources Management and Development and Scheduling and Management Information Systems, Law/Ethics/Policies and Fiscal Systems. The Superintendent gave herself grades of “exemplary” in all categories except for scheduling and management information systems where she gave herself a grade of “proficient”. For the overall standard she gave herself  a grade of “exemplary”. Having an administrative structure and high expectations which support the school system and its goals is key to helping our district grow and develop as a leading urban school system.

Standard Three deals with Family and Community Engagement and has subcategories of Engagement , Sharing Responsibly, Communication and Family Concerns. Binienda expressed that family and community engagement are practices which are familiar to her and that she has made these a priority throughout her career in the WPS including in her role as superintendent. Binienda gave herself grades of “exemplary” in each subcategory and the overall category.

 

Standard Four is Professional Culture. Subcategories are Commitment to High Standards, Cultural proficiency, Communication, Continuous Learning, and Shared Vision. Binienda gave herself all grades of “exemplary” in all subcategories except for shared vision in which she gave herself “proficient”. Her overall grade was “exemplary”. Binienda shared that since beginning her tenure as superintendent, there has been a great deal of emphasis on systemwide and school-wide morale. From the first day of school rally to focused professional development and encouraging collaboration across the district. Helping support out educators by giving them the tools to improve and grow is crucial to our success.

The Superintendent provided comprehensive and specific written information which supports the conclusions of her self evaluation. Providing this data and supporting info to the School Committee is vital in evaluation process that we are currently participating in. As School Committee members, our most important job is to hire a qualified superintendent who shares our primary goal of educating all students to their highest potential.  Each member of the current Worcester School Committee participated in the selection process which chose Maureen Binienda to assume the role of superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools. We have closely examined her decisions, appointments, community outreach, and programs that she has made during the past year.  Now we have the obligation and responsibility to determine her success and her efforts toward achieving her goals.  I look forward to presenting our evaluations in December and continuing to work with the Superintendent to support and promote a shared vision.

 

About Molly McCullough

A life-long resident of Worcester, Molly graduated from UMass Amherst in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. She went on to earn her Master’s in business administration from Nichols College in Dudley in 2007. Molly is passionate about education and is currently serving her first term as a Worcester School Committee Member and is running for her second term.

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