Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Commissioner Chester's annual evaluation

Board member Penny Noyce currently reading highlights of written evaluation. Note that Commissioner Chester is NOT evaluated under the same educator evalation that is used for all other educators in the state. I'll put together some notes from written evaluations; all quotes are taken from that. Chester was evaluated by a subcommittee of Noyce, Morton, Roach, and Sagan. 

In all, the Board is awarding Chester a 4.9 rating out of a possible 5 in the five areas in which he is evaluated.
"Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in K-12 education."
Included in "significant highlights" is educator evaluation, curriculum, RETELL, PARCC, Lawrence receivership ("producing positive results and attracting national notice"), Holyoke receivership (described as a "courageous step"), and Level 4 and 5 schools (on level 5 "early efforts look promising").
  • Chief State Schools Officer: exceeded expectations, 5 of 5l
"The Commissioner maintained a visible public profile throughout the state...In response to concerns from the field, the Commissioner made adjustments. For example, he meets regularly with the Superintendents' Advisory Council to give superintendents early notice of pending initiatives so they can weigh in...continues to develop and implement a clear and flexible strategy for Level 4 and 5 l schools...lead a successful second year test drive of the PARCC...Nevertheless it must be noted that pockets of confusion and distrust about the PARCC and the decision process remain, and communication about the Board's assessment decision in fall of 2015 will have to be carefully managed."
  • head of DESE, exceeded expectations, 5 of 5
"communicates clearly and steadfastly works to advance the Board and Department's mission and goals...has assembled and leads a Department staff that gets strongly positive reviews from the field for being capable and responsive...receives uniformly stellar reviews from members of his leadership team...encourages dialogue, disagreement, and learning from evidence. He listens. His leadership team appreciates his strategic thinking, his work ethic, his calm demeanor, and his passion for improving education for all students in the Commonwealth...[regarding the end of RTTT funding] The committee encourages the Commissioner to look at this challenge as an opportunity to think about strategic reorganization for cost-effectiveness and efficiency...This will be an area that we will evaluate as part of next year's performance review."
  • manage external relations, fully met expectations, 4.5 of 5
"...continues to engage regularly with schools, districts, and the leadership of statewide professional organizations, including the MTA, AFT-MA, MASS and MASC, among others...Leadership changes in external education organizations have made this year a particularly challenging one for communication with the field...The Commissioner has made a foray into social media this year by launching a Twitter account. For Holyoke parents, he has also instituted an ambitious program of bilingual outreach in schools, housing projects, and community-based organizations...The pending PARCC decision and possible transition to a new testing system presents a particular communication challenge, especially with the rise of constituency for testing bans or delays in other states, and, to a lesser extent, in Massachusetts. The Commissioner and Department will need to continue to roll out a thoughful, multi-pronged strategy to inform teachers, news outlets, and the public about the information Massachusetts will use to make its decision, how the decision will be made, and the impact of any new testing system on Massachusetts students and educators."
  • board support/ effective interaction, exceeded expectations, 5 of 5
"The Commissioner provides outstanding support to the Board. Through his weekly reports, monthly calls, constant availablity, and responsiveness to requests for information, he assists Board members in understanding education issues and carrying out their responsibilities...fully supports Board committees...takes seriously the result of the Board's deliberations and decisions."
  • national leadership, exceeded expectations, 5 of 5
"The Commissioner does an outstanding job of representiatng Massachusetts on the national education scene...He is well respected by his peers...The Commissioner's role as a board member and chair of the PARCC governing board has been important to Massachusetts, ensuring that the test is developed for the benefit of the state and not the vendor. The Commissioner's chairmanship allows Massachusetts to closely monitor test quality, insist on high-quality studies of the test's reliability and validity, provide leadership to other states, and potentially move to a next-generation assessment in a more affordable way than the state could manage alone. The Board affirms its full support for the Commissioner playing this role for the benefit of the Commonwealth."

"We would prefer to underline this endorsement with a substantial salary increase, but budget constraints limit us to recommending an increase of 2.5% effective July 1, 2015."
"...we recommend a mutual commitment, such that if the Commissioner leaves his position in the next three years, other than for cause, he shall continue as a special advisor to the Board and the Department on the work with turnaround districts for a period of six months."

I was not able to stay for the discussion, but I am told that he did receive the raise.

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