Superintendent earns proficient rating in evaluation

By Douglas McCulloch | Jun 26, 2017
Dartmouth Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bonny Gifford.

Bonny Gifford’s second year as Dartmouth Public Schools superintendent netted her a performance rating of “proficient” from the School Committee.

The evaluation, unveiled at the June 26 School Committee meeting, examined Gifford’s progress in addressing four standards – instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement, and professional culture. Each School Committee member submitted their recommendations, which were compiled into a final report that ranks each standard using four criteria, from “unsatisfactory” to “exemplary.”

Members also weighed in on Gifford’s progress in addressing three goals – district improvement, professional practice, and student learning. At the beginning of the year, Gifford set her goals of implementing the district’s strategic plan, develop an understanding of effective classroom instruction, and improve student learning in high school mathematics.

The final report marks the first two goals as met, and the student learning goal as having made “significant progress.” It’s a two-year initiative, and members felt adequate progress has been made in the first year, explained committee chair Shannon Jenkins.

Members praised Gifford’s use of events before, after, and during the school day, and efforts including technology education and curriculum mapping in the instructional leadership category. In management and operations, Gifford’s collaboration with her team and other parts of town government, and her development of new funding sources earned her high marks.

Christopher Oliver complemented Gifford’s work ethic, praising her presence at school-related events and how she manages and interacts with her administrative team and the greater school community.

Members listed her use of social media and her presence at school events as positives in the family and community engagement category. In professional culture, members highlighted Gifford’s development of clear staff objectives and articulating a shared vision.

“What I really appreciate is that you have a vision,” said Carol Karafotis. “You’re not reactive to what’s happening, you’re proactive. You have an idea of where we should be going and ideas on how to get there, and I appreciate that.”

Jenkins highlighted a shift away from strictly examining the performance of schools to putting into place policies like the district’s social and emotional learning initiatives and increased technology integration in schools.

“Those things are important, but there’s so much more to school than that, and I’m so thrilled to see all of the development of all those other things going on in the district,” Jenkins said.

Last year, Gifford’s first evaluation netted her the same “proficient” overall rating, meaning her performance is fully satisfactory.

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