Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Sunday, September 12, 2010

BOE 09-10 Self-Evaluation: Student Achievement & Finance

To save time, I'm combining two topics in the ongoing report of our Board of Education Self-Evaluation for the 09-10 school year.

Once again: Board members (and Dr. Fishbein) rated each statement on a scale of 1-4:
1 = Unsatisfactory.
2 = Adequate
3 = Good
4 = Commendable
("Not Observed" was also an option)

Each section has two subsections: "About the Board" and "About You, the Board Member." (Only Board members rated the statements in the second subsection.)

I am sharing the average scores for each statement and then, (in parentheses), the score I gave. Also, remember that the presentation and discussion of this evaluation took place at the Board meeting on 8/30, and you can watch the video by clicking here.

Section III. Student Achievement:

Our Board:
1. determines the district educational goals with input and data from administration. 3.2 (3)
2. requires written curriculum with specific evaluation components in accordance with all statutes. 3.3 (4)
3. requires systematic evaluation of and feedback on the instructional program. 3.2 (2)
4. uses the expertise of the professional staff, in development of curriculum, insuring it is focused on student achievement. 3.5 (3)
5. monitors the effectiveness of our instructional programs by measuring student achievement aqgainst state and local standards and other pertinent data. 3.7 (4)
6. sets high standards for all students based on multiple, assessment measures. 3.3 (3)

As a Board member, I:
A. am involved in determining district educational goals. 2.4 (2)
B. am aware of the communitiy's educational aspirations. 3.4 (4)
C. focus on improving student achievement as a basis in my educational decision-making. 3.2 (3)

The comments in this section mentioned the challenge of balancing student needs and high standards with financial constraints.

Section IV. Finance

Our Board:
1. exercises financial oversigh of all aspects of district operations in accordance with statutes. 3.7 (4)
2. provides policy guidelines and parameters, related to our goals, for budget development/evaluation. 3.2 (4)
3. requires that all requests for unbudgeted expenditures be accompanied by specific indication of need and funding sources. 3.2 (4)
4. balances the educational needs of students with the impact of budgetary increases. 3.7 (4)
5. reviews, understands and evaluates all financial reports to ensure that all educational dollars are used in an efficient and effective manner. 2.8 (3)

As a Board member, I:
A. understand the relationship between our budget and our district's goals. 3.4 (4)
B. understand and participate in our district's budgeting process. 3.6 (4)
C. understand and review the monthly reports. 3.4 (4)
D. understand and review the results of the annual audit. 3.0 (3)

Comments in this section talked about the difficult budget development process last year.

So, there you have it. The next sections of the self-evaluation cover Board Operations and Board Performance.


Anonymous said...

Nice pat on the back you gave ourselves.

Laurie said...

Hmmm, I wouldn't characterize it as a pat on the back. At least for me, personally, I just rated the statements the way I felt best represented my view. I rated a few of the items on the lower side (2). It's a self-evaluation, so it's obviously limited to only one aspect of evaluating our performance. I'd say we get evaluation from outside the Board in a number of ways -- Board elections, budget votes, public comments, personal letters and emails, blog posts, parent survey (results to come)...

Are you saying you disagree with specific statements listed here? Would you care to elaborate?

Anonymous said...

The fact that no one would run for the seat Charles Reilly now holds speaks volumes about what the citizens think of our BOE. But I suppose you don't see it that way, now do you?

Laurie said...

So what are you saying, nobody wants to hang out with us? Is that supposed to hurt my feelings? ;) If you think this is a new phenomenon (lack of interested candidates), you must be new to town.

I suspect there are many reasons people don’t run for the Board of Ed, and I suppose “what the citizens think of our BOE” could be one for some people. For others it could be the hours. Or the sheer size of the challenges. For some it’s too much responsibility. For some it may not be enough responsibility and they’re not comfortable working as part of a group. Some may not want to be criticized in the newspaper or on blogs or whatever. Some might be afraid of making a mistake. Some don’t like confrontation. Some choose other ways to make a difference in their world. Some feel they can’t possibly make a difference in a system they think is broken. Some have small children, so they don’t have time. Some have grown children, so they’re tired and want to enjoy their empty nest. Maybe a few have heard it described as a “thankless job.” Maybe others like to watch TV on Monday nights. Some people are happy to let others of their choosing handle it. Some are happy to let anyone (but them) handle it. And some just, plain and simple, do not care.

I’ve heard all those things and more, both before and after I was involved with the Board. Heck, I’ve probably said most of them myself, at one point or another. As a resident, it bothers me when no one shows up to run. It’s not the way things are “supposed” to work in a democracy. But it is what it is. Getting involved with an elected position is a personal choice that everyone makes for their own reasons.