For the first time ever, a District 97 superintendent’s job evaluation will be partly tied to student performance.

The D97 Board of Education is finalizing an evaluation tool that it hopes to use to measure how well the superintendent is doing by using student academic growth as part of the process.

Still in draft form, D97’s tool likely won’t be implemented for another year. Once implemented, 50 percent of the superintendent’s evaluation will be based on “student growth.” State standardized tests, namely the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) will be one of those assessments. The district also has in-house assessments it uses annually to measure how students are doing academically.

Peter Barber, president of the D97 board, says D97’s evaluation model could become a model for other school districts, noting that there currently is no such student growth model to evaluate school superintendents. The D97 board is still ironing out which assessments and academic targets will be used to determine student growth. But once they do, those assessments will also be tied to the superintendent’s evaluation.

The new evaluation tool is based on the state’s model for evaluating principals, where student growth is a part of that evaluation.

“It’s wonderful in terms of the synergy now,” Barber said, “because obviously the superintendent is responsible for evaluating the principals and we will be using a similar format and criteria to evaluate him.”

The 30-page draft document was up for discussion at last Thursday’s D97 meeting; the board did not approve the evaluation tool. Members noted that state legislation passed last year now requires student achievement to be a part of the evaluation of principals.  

Aside from student growth, the remaining evaluation for D97 will be based on criteria such as effectively working with families, as well as hiring and retaining quality classroom teachers.

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