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Bodie passes third public evaluation

Overall, superintendent shines; individual comments reflect hopes

Superintendent Kathleen Bodie has again received high overall marks from the School Committee, after its third public evaluation.

Seven School Committee members offered their performance reviews at the Thursday, Nov. 14, meeting. Overall, all were positive, though shades of difference are evident among individual members. To read separate evaluations, see the links at the end of this story.

Last year's evaluations were also positive overall.

Here is a brief summary of comments from each committee member's evaluation:

Judson Pierce recommends that the superintendent continue to educate the community about what a 21st-century education in Arlington should look like. What it will take, what we already have in place and what we will need.

He wrote: "Dr. Bodie is proficient and meets expectations and goals. I am pleased that last year’s numerous and ambitious district goals were over 92% completed."

Bill Hayner gave no overall rating. He wrote: "I continue to believe that Dr. Bodie is a caring educator who acts in the best interest of the children, staff and the entire school community."

He commended Bodie for:

    1. Thompson School coming online smoothly on time and under budget
    2. Application of the redistricting program and I did not get one phone call
    3. Negotiating and implementing the new teacher and administrator evaluation program
    4. Keeping the School Committee informed in a timely manner on all the pertinent issues of the Arlington School System
    5. Making herself available to members on a timely basis
He recommended:

    1. Continue with the Statement of Interest for the High School and other facility projects
    2. Work with the Committee so that both sides are clear on the evidence supporting the standards and goals for the future.
    3. Continue keeping the Committee informed about continued increases in student enrollment
    4. Strive to have a successful search for the Special Education Director that the entire School Community will support
    5. Complete the survey of Arlington residents to evaluate the two-way communication of APS.

Cindy Starks wrote: "Overall this has been a good year for the Arlington Public Schools and I feel that Dr. Bodie finally has the staff she needs to successfully run the district. With a wonderful team of administrators, teachers, and staff, Dr. Bodie has led the Arlington Public Schools to a more open and cohesive school system.

"More than ever, things are being handled proactively instead of reactively, allowing the time needed to think through and handle issues and concerns that may arise. Dr. Bodie has fostered a positive working relationship with the unions, which not only allows there to be discussion and creative thinking around anything that may need attention, but also means a productive relationship that moves forward."

Jeff Thielman said the district "is generally high performing, and the Superintendent’s leadership is a critical component of this success."

He offered two major recommendations:

    o Focus on areas of teaching and learning where we are not doing as well as we should. By focusing our energy in these areas, we’ll improve outcomes for high-risk students, and all students will benefit from a better learning environment.

    o Keep your eye on the goal of rebuilding the high school – major, multiyear project.

Paul Schlichtman rated Bodie proficient in all four goals and views her overall performance as proficient.

Among his overall comments:

"Given the transition to the new educator evaluation system, I scored the superintendent on the high leverage indicators in which evidence was apparent at the school committee and community level.

"Superintendent Bodie has had a successful year leading the Arlington Public Schools. The rollout of the new teacher evaluation system is exemplary, and a model for the entire state. Given that Arlington was not a RTTT district, and had more relaxed deadlines for developing and implementing the new system, the fact that other districts (including RTTT districts) looked to Arlington for leadership is an exemplary outcome ....

"The superintendent’s leadership, interacting with NEASC, helped Arlington to get a report that truly reflects the current state of education in our high school. The commendation of our teachers and students reflects the substantial work involved in making the high school a great place to learn. She is using the NEASC findings as evidence to demonstrate the urgency of making substantial improvements to the Arlington High facility ....

"Superintendent Bodie has also alerted us to the challenges we will be facing due to steadily increasing enrollment."

Leba Heigham wrote under business and finance that "Dr. Bodie has shown growth in this area. Schools are completed on time and buildings and improvements are being planned for the future. Dr. Bodie, in conjunction with her staff, have built community confidence in the district’s management of funds."

As for recommendations, she suggested considering long-range planning that focuses on the direction of the district and not on the available funding.

Kirsi Allison-Ampe commended Bodie on her collaborative leadership style, adding: "But I remind her that at the end of the day, she is still the one responsible for ensuring that the district moves forward. I would like to see more analysis of data and results, whether we are discussing new pilots, new initiatives, or future planning. I would also like to see improved communications, with an emphasis on targeted, clear, and concise reports and presentations.

"Finally, the Superintendent is the one who should be bringing a bigger picture view to the table, for both education aims and for thinking about the future. I would like to see more of this in the coming year. Although I greatly appreciate the hard work the Superintendent has shown, I feel improvement is always possible, and offer these suggestions in hopes we can bring the district to the next level of achievement."

Bodie has served as superintendent since October 2008, when she was named interim.

In July, she began a new three-year contract that increases her annual income from $167,260 to $181,500. The salary increases are $5,240 in fiscal 2014; $3,500 in fiscal 2015; and $5,500 in fiscal 2016.

May 1, 2013: New contract boosts pay 

Nov. 18, 2012: 2012 evaluations

This story was published Monday, Nov. 18, 2013.

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