School Committee rates superintendent ‘proficient’ in evaluation

Nov 26, 2018

The results are in: Superintendent Bonny Gifford is doing just fine at the helm of Dartmouth Public Schools.

At its November 26 meeting, the School Committee ranked Gifford as proficient in all categories and overall in an assessment of her performance as superintendent. The evaluation ranked Gifford’s performance addressing four standards -- instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community, and professional culture -- on a four-rating scale ranging from “unsatisfactory” to “exemplary.”

Each School Committee member was asked to rate Gifford in each category, and give an overall rating. Gifford scored a proficient in each category, and a proficient overall.  

“Proficient is a high-performance level,” noted School Committee Chair Shannon Jenkins. “It’s not like you’re just meeting the bar, you’re doing a good job. Exemplary is you’re the best in the state, and we rarely pick that.”

One School Committee member ranked Gifford as Exemplary in the Family and Community standard. In written comments, it was noted that Gifford’s concerted effort to be present at many school events, and delegating staff participation, photography, and social media sharing helps engage the community with its schools.

“The whole culture, it’s moving forward in such a positive way,” noted member Kathleen Amaral.

School Committee member Chris Oliver noted the many accomplishments and changes over the past four years, including major school building projects, the adoption of the School Choice program and subsequent projects funded through money generated by the program, and a $500,000 state grant which is equipping the high school with high-tech tools.

“I see us at a completely different spot today compared to Year 1 when you first came in,” Oliver said.

In addition to the overall and standards ratings, School Committee members also ranked Gifford in her efforts to meet two goals.

Committee members also weighed in on Gifford’s progress in achieving two specific goals in professional practice and student learning. In professional practice, Gifford was tasked with supporting professional development to expand the district’s science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science pathways. In student learning, a goal was set to improve learning in mathematics.

Four members ranked Gifford as meeting expectations and one exceeding expectations in professional practice, and two ranked her as making significant progress while three chose met expectation in student learning.

The latest evaluation results largely mirror Gifford’s proficient ranking last year.