Schools Survey Performance and Preferences

By Ann Needle

At last night’s brief, 45-minute Nashoba School Committee meeting, members reviewed a summary of their individual evaluations of the superintendent for the year, and made plans to issue several surveys on how the schools are meeting the public’s expectations.

Reviewing new state criteria for rating school administrators, the Committee spent the past few months looking at how to revamp Nashoba’s ratings criteria. As part of the new rules — which will take effect next school year — the Committee also must shape those results into a formal, publicly-presented evaluation. Committee Chair Nancy Federspiel of Bolton cautioned that this means the format and content of Wood’s evaluation next year could be quite different.

In presenting this year’s ratings, Federspiel distributed a draft of her written summary of these results in the six performance categories where Wood was measured: Relationship with the Committee; educational leadership; general, budget, and personnel management; and communications/public relations. Individual members’ results were not yet distributed. Also, Federspiel stressed, “I don’t in any way want this summary to replace the survey results.”

Federspiel’s summary focused on Wood’s management of a complex district, remarking, “Michael Wood excels at managing this complexity and meeting management and budget-related responsibilities.” As for areas the Committee seemed to find need improvement, Federspiel’s summary pointed to “educational leadership that aims to make the Nashoba Regional School District among the very best in Massachusetts.” She also cited Wood for needing to work harder at public relations efforts that could improve Nashoba’s relationship with its town boards and residents.

Wood commented on the results, “There were no surprises — I do feel I’m in tune with all of you.”

Before Committee members each filled out their evaluations over the past few weeks, at the April 9 Committee meeting Wood provided a written document on what he saw as his goals and accomplishments for the year. These included boosting the quality of the district’s STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math); continuing a smooth transition of the curriculum to the state’s “common core” and continuing to add grading against the state standards to report cards.

As for the survey results, these are similar to last year’s annual evaluation, where Wood appeared to fare well. On a rating scale of 1 (lowest) through 5 for several qualities, Wood averaged between 4 and 5 in most areas, including general, budget, and personnel management. His lowest rating was in communicating with the district and the public, averaging just below 4 for the year.

The Committee agreed with Federspiel to hold off until the next meeting on voting to accept the evaluation results, giving everyone time for review.

Survey Time
Michael Wood asked all Nashoba community members to fill out the surveys for their towns’ schools. Written by each school council, the surveys are slated to be sent to parents next week. The surveys center on how well each Nashoba school is doing in reaching its stated goals. Results should be posted online after responses are reviewed by each school council.

The Committee also agreed on the final language for the district improvement survey, which is designed to gauge the goals and priorities of Nashoba families for their schools. Nancy Federspiel said the survey can be completed and submitted online, and would be posted on both the district main site (www.nrsd.net) and individual school web sites.  Federspiel assured that, once the survey is posted, Nashoba would get the word out via public phone messaging and other means.

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