Thompson may learn his fate today at Collier school board meeting

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— Thursday could prove to be Collier County School Superintendent Dennis Thompson’s Waterloo.

The Collier County School Board will vote Thursday afternoon on whether to keep Thompson as superintendent through the end of his contract on July 31, 2011, or give him an extension to July 31, 2012.

Join us at naplesnews.com/livevideo beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday for a live chat and live streaming video from the Collier County School Board's regular meeting.

The decision rests on how Thompson did on his annual review, which board members discussed last week.

Board members praised Thompson for his focus on staff development; his financial acumen; his implementation of “sheltered classrooms” for non-English speaking students, which give those students the opportunity for more individualized instruction; and his work with the district’s strategic plan.

But Thompson was criticized for his communication and community relations skills and the district culture.

Board member Pat Carroll changed some of her responses from does not meet expectations to meets expectations last week during the discussion. Carroll said the changes came after she received pertinent information from Thompson and other sources.

“Overall, my review is that he met expectations,” she said. “But I am not sure we have set the expectations high enough.”

Board members wanted those changes added into the final report so they could get a clear picture of how their fellow board members felt Thompson did this year.

The decision on Thompson’s future comes days after the Education Foundation of Collier County released a statement asking the School Board to consider using its strategic plan when evaluating the superintendent.

“The current evaluation tool for the superintendent was devised before the strategic plan was written. As seen at last week’s evaluation workshop, this rubric was not utilized the same way by all board members, some did not complete the scoring, and data was not shared consistently with board members in advance,” according to the letter.

The letter asks the School Board to create a strong evaluation tool that: is aligned with the District Strategic Plan and has continuity over time; is devised in the context of national norms; is rooted in sound statistical and evaluation best practices; reflects a comprehensive view of the district; and establishes a cycle of timing that is not disruptive to the beginning of a school year.

“Our community is chewing up and spitting out leaders because we do not have strong governance. Our current superintendent and School Board have particular strengths and weaknesses, as did those before them. They deserve respect and professional treatment in the context of a fair and valid evaluation process,” according to the letter.

Susan McManus, president of the Education Foundation of Collier County, said the group isn’t trying to tell the Collier County School Board what to do. Instead, she wants board members to think about aligning the superintendent’s evaluation with the district plan in the future.

“It is so important we continue on the part and support the contributions the community has made to this strategic plan over the last three years,” she said. “We need to develop a focused plan that drives the benchmarks.”

Carroll said the Education Foundation is right about how the board should move forward.

“The thing is, the evaluation was established last year and the evaluation and the rubric were established for last year’s goals. The strategic plan will be goals moving forward. I am very concerned about developing an evaluation that accurately reflects the professionalism of the strategic plan,” she said.

“Whatever happens this coming year, we do need a different evaluation and it is my intention to get input from the professional consultant who developed the plan to develop an evaluation to tie to the strategic. But we can’t step back. These goals and evaluations and the rubric were started before the strategic planning process was started.”

In other business, the School Board will take on the following:

■ Whether football games should be moved from the evening of Friday, Sept. 17, to Thursday or Saturday evening. The change would allow Jewish students who wanted to celebrate Yom Kippur to be able to do so without missing the game. The Lee County School District has rescheduled its football games for the same evening.

■ The impact on the district’s capital budget if the board voted to cut school impact fees by 50 percent and the impact of delaying the payment of impact fees until the certificate of occupancy is issued.

Connect with K-12 education policy reporter Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.

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Comments » 2

Hoosier55 writes:

Get him out ASAP!!!!!!!!!!

u2cane writes:

Sounds like Pat Carroll needs to go as well.

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