The School Committee faced a key step on Thursday, Nov. 15, in deciding whether to renew the contract of Superintendent Kathleen Bodie, which must occur by Dec. 31: She was evaluated in public, as she was a year ago, for the $167,260-a-year top school position.
According to the meeting agenda, the two-hour evaluation was to begin at 7:20 p.m. At its Oct. 25 meeting, School Committee Chairwoman Kirsi Allison-Ampe pointed to policy CBI, which calls for preparing written public reports rather than oral ones.
The policy says: "Prior to the public evaluation, members of the Committee may complete the written evaluation instrument described in CBI-E. However, any notes or written evaluations read or referred to in the public evaluation shall become part of the public record.
"Committee members are urged to carefully consider the criteria and factors in the evaluation tool and to provide honest, objective feedback that is free of politics and personal agendas. Committee members are also reminded that their evaluations are public documents; they should refrain from personal attacks, and strive to maintain a respectful tone befitting of civil discourse."
Series of questions to consider
An Oct. 19 memo presented to the committee Oct. 25 suggested that the following questions be among those considered in the evaluation:
-- What is the strategy for helping the approximately 13.5% of students who are not at grade level in reading by grade 3?
-- Goal 1(f) talks about making students aware of opportunities in STEM fields. Is there any conversation taking place within the district of placing students in science-related internships at Iocal companies during high school? Is t here any interest in this on the part of the science leadership?
-- Goal 1(h) discusses a plan to offer PSAT to sophomores and juniors on Oct. 17. How many participated?
-- Please give an update on the search for permanent Director of Special Education and a high school Principal.
-- Please provide a list of ways you have stayed "informed of all aspects of state and national educational activities which have the potential for affecting the Arlington Public Schools." (from CBI-E, part 2)
-- Please describe the steps you've taken to work "effectively with collective bargaining units to ensure high quality teaching and learning in our schools." [from CBI-E, part 4)
-- What are the top 3 things you accomplished in this evaluation period? What have you fallen short of? What will you do to correct?
-- Give three specific examples of how you have successfully communicated with stakeholders? What are you doing that works in this regard? What would you like to do better?
-- Give three specific examples of curriculum improvements that have been positively received by staff and students.
-- How has your leadership improved the culture and implementation of differentiated instruction in the classroom?
-- Who are the people you evaluate and what were the dates that their evaluations were completed during the 2011 2012year?
-- Provide your timeline for the Special Education Director search.
-- Provide your timeline for the high school principal search?
-- What protocols have you implemented regarding confidentiality in the school system? Give your evaluation of these protocols.
-- How has the reading response to intervention program been evaluated for success?
-- How are you ensuring that all staff at all levels are receiving performance reviews on a regular basis?
-- Although their CPI scores were acceptable, grade and 6 and 7 had very low SGP scores in mathematics in 2011-12 for all students, and in all subgroups. When, and how, were these scores discussed with subject teachers and leaders? What action items came from these discussions? What was the follow-up?
-- What has changed this past year to improve Special Education communication?
Superintendent-search-related events since 2007
To provide context, here are some key events of the last five years:
Bodie, named an assistant superintendent in 2007, was elevated to superintendent in 2008 following the departure of Nate Levenson.
In October 2008, she was named interim superintendent in a vote of 5-0-1.
In January 2009, the committee voted to extend her contract to June 30, 2010.
In February 2010, after a search committee chose eight candidates for superintendent, Bodie did not say whether she had applied.
A little more than a week later, Bodie was reported to be a finalist for the top school job in Swampscott.
Five days after that, three finalists were named, and Bodie bowed out.
Late that month, the two remaining finalists withdrew and Bodie accepted the permanent position.
In November 2011, the School Committee evaluated Bodie in public for the first time.
This story was published Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.