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Robinson evaluation will weigh achievement in her pay

FWCS board group creates new process

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 6:59 pm

A subcommittee of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board has developed a new process for evaluating the superintendent, one that ties achievement to compensation and will be used for Superintendent Wendy Robinson's upcoming evaluation.

The process was presented to the entire board, except members Becky Hill and Steve Corona, who were absent, by the board's special attorney, Tim McCauley, at its meeting Monday evening. “This is a totally new process -- one that will serve you not only in the upcoming school year but in school years to come,” McCauley said.

Robinson said she felt comfortable with the process and its level of transparency, particularly because the district is piloting the state's RISE program, the teacher-valuation model that will also use a percentage of student achievement data to determine pay.

“It's difficult to talk about accountability with teachers when I'm not going through a similar process,” she said.

Previously, the board performed Robinson's evaluations based on the calendar year. Her last was at the end of 2010, making it impossible to use test scores to determine raises or bonuses. Evaluations will now be required within 90 days of the end of the contract year, June 30, and include test scores and other data.

Robinson has not received a raise or bonus since her contract was renewed in November 2009. Her base salary is about $174,000. That figure doesn't include annuity or any other compensation such as a district vehicle.

Robinson also approved the process, as her contract requires mutual agreement before changes such as this can be made.

The evaluation process was developed using a research-based model out of North Carolina. Robinson said the model will look familiar to teachers and administrators because it is similar to the teacher-evaluation program the district is piloting for the state.

Although the process will be similar for Robinson's upcoming evaluation, it won't be identical because some work is required one year before the evaluation. Parts of her evaluation will be made public, including if she receives a raise or bonus, at the Sept. 26 board meeting.

The process outlines the steps of the evaluation and provides a timeline by which the steps must be completed.

Under the new process, Robinson will be required to establish up to five goals, with the target being three. Each goal will be tied to a set of seven standards that board members will use in her final evaluation. Robinson will also determine the type of documentation she will provide the board that will prove she achieved her set goals.

Robinson will give the board quarterly status update reports, with a final report given in July. Her performance will be rated on a scale using a rubric, outlining scores and what it takes to achieve a specific score. Scores range from 0 to 4 and are labeled unsatisfactory to distinguished.

Board members will use the rubric to individually evaluate the superintendent. All seven scores will be tallied, and the median or middle score will be given. The board will evaluate the superintendent using that score. The superintendent could potentially receive a raise based on his or her score and a bonus or incentive based on achievement of the set goals and district growth.

Compensation will be determined when the superintendent sets his or her goals. The board will determine the percentage of the base salary the district can afford to give as a raise, ranging from 0 to 5 percent. The superintendent will be required to receive a certain score to receive 50 or 100 percent of that raise.

At this time the board will also set a maximum amount of the base salary that can be afforded as a bonus. That amount will be divided into two pots and a percentage paid out based on the superintendent's performance.

Board president Mark GiaQuinta said the process for Robinson's upcoming evaluation Sept. 26 will look similar because the board knows what goals were set for Robinson at the beginning of the last school year, including completing the closure of Elmhurst High School, transitioning the district after outsourcing custodial work, making adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind, and getting North and South Side high schools off academic probation.

The board will decide during an executive session, closed to the public, whether she deserves additional compensation using her performance based on those goals, but certain documents will be available to the public at the Sept. 26 board meeting.