NAPLES — When Dennis Thompson reaches his two-year anniversary as the Collier County superintendent in August, he will finally be evaluated by the Collier County School Board.
The School Board met with Thompson in a special workshop Thursday afternoon to discuss measurable goals by which Thompson can be assessed during his August evaluation.
Board member Julie Sprague wondered if the district’s goals for 2005-09 were a good place to start. Thompson disagreed.
“Some of those goals are not relevant,” he said. “Also, I think some goals need to be more specific than Collier County will be an A school district.”
Board member Richard Calabrese said he thought Thompson’s goals should reflect “where we are now, where we want to be and how we are going to get there.”
Thompson agreed, saying one of his goals was to have no F schools this year when school grades are released by the state.
Board Vice Chairwoman Kathleen Curatolo stressed that Thompson needed to have objectives with measurable outcomes. She also stressed that the outcomes should have incremental measurements.
“If you want to work on a goal that Collier will be an A school district, in year one, you could say that the district will have no F schools,” she said.
Thompson said he would like one of the goals to be that the district improves its graduation rate. He said he thought it was an attainable goal.
“I am not talking about drop out rates because we don’t have access to all the kids (who leave the school system),” he said.
Thompson said the goal for his administration has been to get the systems and programs in place that allow students to develop and achieve their maximum potential. He used the district’s plan with English Language Learner (ELL) students as an example. The district has put a sheltered model in place, in which ELL students are put in a self-contained classroom for at least one year to help them develop their English skills. But the program has been in place less than one year.
“We want to achieve measures for the board and the public to see that they are working,” he said.
After discussing topics, such as career education and the training and recruitment of teachers and administrators, Thompson said he began to see a pattern of what the board members wanted to measure him on — an ELL goal based on the sheltered model; outcomes for career education students based on Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test performance and student progression from grade to grade; and a measurable goal for the hiring and retention of staff that translates into student achievement and performance.
Sprague added that she would like to see the superintendent develop a communications goal.
Thompson said he had been working on a school climate survey that would be distributed at a third of the schools three times a year to assess how teachers, students and parents feel about the schools.
Sprague asked for more.
“I think there should be a plan for communicating with the community as well,” she said. “You are not getting the retired folks in there or the people who don’t have children in the school district.”
Board Chairwoman Pat Carroll said she was pleased with the process the board and Thompson were taking.
“The evaluation process has often been a ‘gotcha’ process against the superintendent,” she said. “We are using this opportunity to move forward. I am very pleased.”
Eventually, the School Board hopes to appoint a committee of stakeholders to work with Thompson on the district’s strategic plan and goals. That committee will begin its work following the August evaluation by the board.
Thompson will bring a draft to board members of some of the goals suggested at the School Board’s Tuesday, March 31 workshop.