Board of Education to Conduct Evaluations

January 8, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education will conduct an annual performance evaluation of the Director of Schools and a School Board self evaluation on Thursday night, January 22nd at the Board of Education Building.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during Thursday night's monthly school board meeting, said the same basic instruments for making the evaluations will be used as in the past and the same procedure will be followed. " Our precedent in doing this is that, in the past, when Mr. (Johnny) Lattimore was chairman in 2007 we had an evaluation workshop for the director starting at 6:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. we had a special called meeting to address the board issues (self evaluation). This is probably something our policy committee needs to look at on the interpretation of the policy concerning the board self evaluation as to whether we can do it in a workshop setting or if it needs to be done during a special called meeting. But for now I want to continue the precedent that has been set in the past. So on January 22nd, we'll have a workshop to evaluate Mr. (Mark) Willoughby and then at 7:00 p.m. we'll go into a special called session to evaluate ourselves."

Robinson also called for a board workshop on Saturday, February 21st at 8:30 a.m. to set future goals. "In taking into consideration how we evaluate ourselves and our director and what we want to achieve for the next school year in trying to remain a board of distinction, we will have workshop to address our five year plan, our strengths and weaknesses and how we can improve. We want to be a pro-active board and I believe this (workshop) will help us to be pro-active and not reactionary."

At the workshop on January 22nd, the school board members will evaluate Director Mark Willoughby on his relationship with the board, community relationships, staff and personnel relationships, educational leadership, business and finance, and strategic planning skills. Board members are to make a check mark on the four page evaluation form in each of 52 areas, if they believe expectations have been met. Spaces are also provided on the form for board members to write comments.

Willoughby's contract states that the evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than January 31 each calendar year during the term of the contract. The board will review the Director's performance, progress toward established goals, and the working relationship between the two parties.

In the self evaluation, each board member must rate the board's performance on a scale from one to six in team building, decision making, governance, school improvement, community, planning, communications, motivation, influence, and policy. A score of "one" is the lowest and a score of "6" is the highest. They must rate themselves on how much is being done now in each of 46 areas and how important those issues are to them.

Also during the school board meeting Thursday night, Director Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since the last meeting.

Darril G. Taylor has been employed as a substitute bus assistant and Tiffany Frazier, Martha Kirksey, Gayla Hendrix, and Kymerleigh Lamson have been named substitute teachers. Roenia Turner has resigned as an educational assistant at DeKalb West School. April Odom was granted a leave of absence as requested and Peggy Semmes, a teacher at DeKalb County High School, was also granted leave as requested.

The school board approved a grant proposal totaling $26,000 to create a model dropout prevention program, specifically for students with significant disabilities at DCHS.

The board also adopted a budget amendment to appropriate $10,435 in additional state revenue received for lottery and pilot early childhood programs not previously appropriated in this year's budget. The county commission will also be asked to approve the budget amendment.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix updated the school board on high school news. "We took our Gateway and End of Course tests in December and I'm really proud of the scores that we received.. In Algebra I, we had 93.7% pass and we had 44.4% advanced. In Biology, we had 98.4% pass and 78.9% advanced. In English 10, we had 99.2% pass and 84.6% advanced.. And in the End of Course in English 9, we had 98.9% pass and in U.S. History 90.7% passed.

Also in our Adult High School we had eleven students who took the Algebra I test and all of them passed. One student at the adult high school took the English 10 test and also passed. So 100% of our students at the adult high school passed the Gateway.

"I would like to congratulate the basketball cheerleaders. They won the TSSAA state championship in the non-building for the third year in a row. Ms. (Walteen) Parker also received the Coaches Achievement Award."

" I would also like to congratulate our football team. Hunter Poteete was a Region 3A Mr. Football finalist. He was also Region 4-3A MVP, Upper Cumberland Playmaker of the Year. He won two All-State awards, one of them was the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and the other was the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association award."

" Abram Edwards was the Region 4-3A receiver of the year. He also received the Upper Cumberland receiver of the year award and he also made the All-State Tennessee Sportswriters Association."

" Chris Odom was All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland linebacker of the year award. J.J. Herriott was All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland defensive back of the year award. Logan Roller was named to All Region 4-3A and he received the Upper Cumberland defensive lineman of the year award. Matthew Lawrence was named to All Region 4-3A."

"Coach (Steve) Trapp received the Region 4-3A Coach of the Year award and he also got Upper Cumberland Coach of the Year. Congratulations to all of them."

Gina Arnold, Supervisor of Special Education, also gave a report. "The Tennessee Department of Education has created an annual profile of all the special education programs across the state and this is the first year that the monitoring process is in this format. It's a new format for us. We received our results over the Christmas holiday. Based on the data for the 2007-08 school year, the DeKalb County School profile for Special Education met all of the requirements. I would like to thank our students and our parents who are involved in the special education program and a special thanks goes to the teachers and paraprofessionals and other staff who work everyday to make this a success and to our principals who are very cooperative and so supportive of special education here in DeKalb County."

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