Turner Board praises McCarthy in evaluation

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TOWN OF BELOIT - Turner School Board members praised Superintendent Dennis McCarthy in his annual evaluation when reviewing how well he accomplished his goals over this past school year.

The superintendent evaluation is essentially a self-evaluation with input from board members. The method has McCarthy draft goals for himself in August. In the middle of the year and again at the end of the year, he then evaluates how he did on addressing those goals.

Board President John Turner said school board members presented feedback on McCarthy's goals on Monday in a closed session. His goals were broken down into three categories: public trust and communication, achievement and fiscal responsibility and high quality staff.

"Dr. McCarthy and board members were in agreement that he has been successful in implementing his stated goals," Turner said. "Some were achieved while others are still a work in progress."

In terms of public trust and communication, the board found that McCarthy communicates well with the board and the public. This is exemplified in his effort placed on dealing with students coming from a trauma background, according to the board summary.

"He articulates best practices presented by national education leaders such as restorative practice, and used recent materials to present the issues needing attention," the board summary states. "He has good views of teacher participation in discussion and has high expectations of staff."

The board also found that McCarthy is putting a priority on long term goals and updating them every five years or sooner. They also found that he "is aware of current issues concerning discipline vs. restorative practices."

In terms of academic achievement, the board states that McCarthy has a "well-articulated" plan, which identifies teaching issues that hinder student performance.

According to McCarthy's reflection, he believes the district needs to develop a more comprehensive literacy plan.

"Literacy is the backbone to all coursework so the development of a comprehensive plan is something that will impact our staff throughout the district," McCarthy stated. "We have a large representative team from all buildings that will help in this process."

In terms of staffing, the board found that McCarthy completed efforts to engage staff during inservice time.

"He understands new employee traits and expresses district goals to them," the board stated.

During the school year, McCarthy said the board worked to redevelop its mentorship program.

"Overall feedback was positive from participants and gave us further suggestions for improvement for next year," McCarthy said. "This was a challenging year given we had such a large group of new staff, but we anticipate that number being much smaller in the future."

Generally, board members were pleased with McCarthy's efforts to keep them informed about the various building improvements that are being made in the district this summer, including the upcoming science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) addition to the middle/high school and the new elementary building.

Board members' future suggestions for McCarthy included:

• Be able to drill down to the academic issues affecting student achievement in a particular grade or class, and take an action.

• Consider a discussion with the board to include as a philosophy, that students will graduate with an understanding of the expectations as an adult during the next few years of learning or in the workforce.

• Use some artifacts to identify academic or behavioral successes in the district.

• Continue to maintain the financial standing of the district.

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