Grades for Chase defined

A new grading scale will allow for more precise evaluations of the superintendent.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:21 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Next year, Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Phyllis Chase’s annual report card will likely be based on a new grading scale.

The Superintendent Evaluation Committee, composed of Chase, Columbia School Board vice president Darin Preis and board member Michelle Gadbois, recommended to the board that the evaluation scale be changed from three categories — “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” and “does not meet expectations” ­— to four — “distinguished,” “progressing,” “inefficient,” and “ineffective.” Preis said the old scale was subjective because there was no defini-

tion of what each category meant.

The new scale would include a detailed description of the categories used to evaluate the superintendent according to already established criteria.

“We think we’re adding some clarification to the tool itself so that when anyone of us (board members) puts down an evaluation grade, we all know what that means,” Preis said. “It’s important because one of the criteria for what the superintendent’s contract looks like is her performance.”

Board member Steve Calloway said the new criteria would allow the board a “much greater tendency to agree” on the superintendent’s performance.

Also new, the committee recommended that the superintendent be given an opportunity to respond to the board’s evaluation before it is finalized. The way it’s done now, Preis said, is each board member evaluates the superintendent in February. Over the next two to three months, the board president compiles the results before presenting them to the superintendent.

“As board members, we couldn’t possibly see everything that the superintendent does, and it gives her an opportunity to point out anything we may have missed,” Preis said.

At the board’s meeting June 11, members voted to table the approval of the recommended changes until a final piece, based on the superintendent’s success in achieving the board’s goals, is fully fleshed out. Because there is no rush to finish, Preis said approval will likely come at a work session in early winter.

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