Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

District unveils evaluation system


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When the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ review team scrutinized Hernando County for accreditation compliance in 2010, the district did well, but their lower ratings had something in common.

“Program evaluation is our Achilles’ Heel,” Director of School Improvement Eric Williams said at a School Board workshop Tuesday. “Our lower standards had something to do with a program evaluation system.”

Budget and personnel cuts, coupled with limited resources, make fine-tuning the efficiency of financially backed initiatives in the district that much more important, Williams said.

Since accreditation reviews operate on a five-year cycle, Williams said he would like to see the following problems addressed before the next accreditation review in 2015:

A lack of a systematic process to evaluate district program effectiveness enables inefficiencies.

A lack of a systematic process to evaluate district program effectiveness limadministrators’ ability to develop objective justifications for adopting, continuing, expanding or discontinuing district programs.

“The proposed solution to that is to put a system in place,” Williams said, one of which he has been nurturing for the last five months called “Program Evaluation Protocol,” or PEP.

The PEP and the district’s 2012-17 strategic plan could be saving graces come accreditation time, Williams said, since the proposed PEP process would require administrators to gather the approval of program directors who could be impacted, describe various programs and determine their financial impact, as well as what strategic plan focus area it serves before being circulated to the superintendent’s office for approval.

Board member Dianne Bonfield questioned whether “strategies” and “initiatives” would be scrutinized as heavily as “programs” under the PEP and whether they would even make it to the superintendent’s office for possible evaluation, since programs titled as such have circumvented evaluation as “programs” in the past.

School Superintendent Bryan Blavatt defended PEP saying it would pertain to all district-wide, financially backed initiatives, which can be evaluated at the superintendent’s discretion, and will be based on data collected and measured systematically and presented annually to the school board.

The proposal awaits approval by the board.

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