Board Discusses Self Evaluations

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Thursday April 03, 2014

At every other school board meeting, members fill out an evaluation at the end of the night. The document allows for comments and asks questions regarding the flow of the meeting, if members felt documents were provided in enough time to be prepared for discussion and evaluation, and the superintendent’s preparedness. At the March 26 meeting, the board shared their thoughts on this current system. 

Martin LaLonde pointed out that often when he collects and reads the results of the evaluations out loud, there are seldom any “disagrees” on the agree, disagree, or no opinion scale. “So we’re either doing really well or this isn’t a very valuable tool,” LaLonde said. Diane Bugbee mentioned the importance of receiving objective feedback on their performance and suggested soliciting external opinions by giving evaluation sheets to audience members to fill out. One issue with this is that attendance is generally low and that people who do attend the meetings usually come for one agenda item and leave afterward. 

Dan Fleming said he thought it would be prudent for the board to take a step back more often, especially in terms of whether or not they are truly providing a world class education. “Are we content with the level of excellence we have achieved?” Fleming asked, “and how is that standard being quantified?” Fleming also suggested holding quarterly work sessions to allow time to delve deeper into some of these issues. 

Other challenges the board discussed involved receiving backup information for agenda items on the evening of the meeting, which doesn’t allow for adequate time to digest the monitoring reports, for example. Business Manager John Stewart said that he is often inundated with questions on policy monitoring reports prior to meetings and that answering these queries in a written format takes a significant amount of time. It was agreed a system needs to be developed that satisfies both the board’s need for information and the time constraints the administration faces in addition to their other commitments.  

LaLonde suggested that questions of clarity on monitoring reports could be given verbally at meetings if they don’t change the policy itself and David Young commented that no one can do a good job addressing the agenda items if it’s too packed. 

It was agreed that the discussion had been valuable and the board will look into ways to solicit more feedback on their performance.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent