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Answering Your Superintendent Evaluation Questions, Part 2

Joel Gerring

By Joel Gerring, MASB Assistant Legal Counsel

DashBoard, Oct. 12, 2016

Recently, the Legal Team has been fielding a number of questions regarding the administrator evaluation laws that were put into effect last November. We will address the answers to a handful of the most common questions in a series of FAQs.

Question: Do the names of board members who have received the training need to be posted per the posting requirement section of the law?

Answer: No. The statute requires that schools must post certain information about the measures that will be used as part of their overall performance evaluation system, but nowhere is there a requirement that a list be posted or published that identifies board members who have completed the evaluator training.

As school boards generally only evaluate superintendents, it would only be superintendents who would be interested in, and impacted by, such information. Often times the superintendent is involved in the decisionmaking process with respect to evaluations and training, hence this individual would generally know which members participated in the training and which members did not, and would not need such information publicly posted.

Question: Is it true that M-STEP data cannot be used as part of the overall Performance Evaluation System until the 2018-2019 school year?

Answer: Not exactly. State law requires that the student growth and assessment data used in a superintendent’s evaluation be the aggregate student growth data that are used in the entire school district. This means that the portion of the superintendent’s evaluation based on student growth and assessment data must include all students and measures included in the evaluation of all teachers in the district, but does not require that all students and measures be weighted equally.

In regard to the M-STEP, the Michigan Department of Education discouraged using the 2014-2015 results for education evaluations; however, this does not mean that using such data is prohibited. Likewise, there hasn’t been a directive from MDE stating that M-STEP data should not be used for the next few years. MDE has suggested measurements for determining student growth for evaluations, which can be found here.

Question: Can Educator Evaluation Training grants be used to train board members?

Answer: Yes. MDE has provided a series of grants to provide support for the implementation of educator evaluation systems (see the MDE memo). While the information concerning these grants consistently mentions “educator” evaluations, those applying for these grants in order to train board members are not being denied.

Question: Once we choose an evaluation do we have to formally approve the tool at an open meeting?

Answer: The law requires that districts must “develop and/or adopt and implement an evaluation tool for school administrators.” It makes no mention of the formal process that must be taken in order to do so. Typically, the adoption of a process by which employees will be evaluated will be voted on by the school board, at least with respect to the superintendent evaluation (which the board conducts), but this is not mandated in law. Board policy generally dictates and, of course, if a board member requests that use of a particular tool be put to a vote, the board as a whole may decide to do so.

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