Published February 14, 2019


NORTH READING — Superintendent Jon Bernard updated the School Committee on the implementation of the educator evaluation system at the board’s January 28 meeting.

Bernard reported that an evaluation committee has been formed, per the most recent collective bargaining agreement with the North Reading Education Association (NREA).

The superintendent noted that the administrators chose to take their time implementing this new evaluation system.

“We were very methodical. We formed a committee that I think has been very good at ushering in a new system, which is a pretty significant change in its scope, without much controversy at all,” Bernard said.

Bernard noted that the one drawback of the evaluation system is the amount of work that falls on the administrators.

“As a district with a relatively small number of administrators, the scope of work that gets put on the administration to effectively evaluate the staff is significant,” Bernard said.

Evaluating administrators include Bernard, Assistant Superintendent Patrick Daly, Director of Student Services Cynthia Conant, Elementary Coordinator for Special Education Gina Sacco, Secondary Coordinator for Special Education Maureen Ryan and Coordinator for School Counseling Services Michael Rosa.

Also Director of Digital Learning Dan Downs, Principals Anthony Loprete (NRHS), Catherine O’Connell (NRMS), Sean Killeen (Batchelder), Glen McKay (Hood) and Chris Molle (Little), and Assistant Principals Joseph Hehn (NRHS) and Michael Maloney (NRMS).

These 14 administrators are responsible for evaluating more than 300 staff members.

“Our administration understands the value of the educator evaluation system, and knows that particularly with the new system the conversation has become very important,” Bernard said. “One of the best things that has come out of the new system is it forces us to have conversations with people about their practice.”

According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Framework follows a five step cycle: self assessment; analysis, goal setting, and plan development; implementation of the plan; formative assessment/evaluation; and summative evaluation.

Based upon the summative evaluation, educators are rated as exemplary, proficient, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory.

Educators rated as exemplary or proficient will complete the five-step cycle every two years.

Teachers without professional status (those educators with less than three years experience within the district) or those rated as needs improvement will complete the cycle annually.

Educators who are rated as unsatisfactory are placed on a directed growth plan by their evaluator for a period of time ranging from 30 days to one year, depending upon the plan.

During this five-step cycle, administrators meet with each educator individually to review goals and collected evidence of progress.

The administrator then observes each educator, writes a summative evaluation, and meets individually with each educator again to present the evaluation report.

Workload “lessens the positive impact” 

School Committee member Mel Webster noted his displeasure with the amount of work placed on the administration under the current evaluation system.

“That’s always been one of my issues with (the evaluation system). I was hoping that the state would somehow find a way to reduce those numbers by somehow figuring out or allowing other people to do evaluations,” Webster said. “To me, it just lessens the positive impact of having this sort of system if someone’s reviewing 26 people. There’s not enough time if you take into account all the other parts of that person’s job.”

Bernard stated that due to the special DESE licensure required to be an evaluator, he does not see a solution to the problem in the short term, however it is a topic that subcommittees are discussing.