San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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April 12th, 2009
San Marcos CISD board sets goals for Shafer

San Marcos CISD Superintendent Patty Shafer, far right, poses recently with teachers awarded grants for innovation.

By ED MIHALKANIN
News Reporter

The San Marcos CISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved an instrument for evaluating Superintendent Patty Shafer last month. The board will use the instrument to assess Shafer’s performance in January 2010.

Trustees developed the instrument in a March 9 meeting and approved it before the end of the month. As an assessment of the superintendent by the board naturally reflect the board’s goals for the school district, a look at the criteria for evaluating a superintendent reveals board priorities.

The assessment form sets out four main goals, the attainments of which are to be scored by meeting specified objectives.

The four goals are:

1. Improved academic achievement for all San Marcos CISD students, and a closing of the performance gap between the least successful and most successful students;

2. San Marcos CISD will provide a culture of high expectations for all students;

3. Career and technical educational programs in the district will prepare students “to excel in a changing workplace,” and;

4. San Marcos CISD will maintain fiscal soundness.

Towards meeting the first goal, the instrument provides underlying objectives and the criteria for meeting them. For example, one objective is for student scores in state assessments to improve. The criteria for saying Shafer succeeded is that the district’s passing rates on state assessments for kindergarten through fifth grade will increase, as will the passing rates in the majority of Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for sixth through 12th grades.

A second objective is that the gap between all subgroups and the highest performing subgroup in math will decrease. Again, the criteria for meeting that objective is to be found in the TAKS scores. Likewise, the criteria for reaching a third objective of decreasing the gap between all subgroups and the highest performing subgoups in science will be found in the TAKS scores

A fourth objective requires that the number of “commended” TAKS scores will increase. The results will lie in the TAKS scores.

It is unclear how many of the objectives Shafer must meet to satisfy the first goal. The instrument says she must meet two out of three, The trustees decided late in the process to break subgroup performance in math and science into separate goals, increasing the number of objectives from three to four, but the board did not go back and specify is Shafer is to meet two of the four or three of the four.

The second goal of providing a culture of high expectations for all students is would be met by increased performance in seven objectives: 1) the percentage of students meeting the THECB Standard for Higher Education Readiness on ELA TAKS  exit level exams; 2) the percentage of students meeting the THECB Standard for Higher Education Readiness on math TAKS exit level exams; 3) the San Marcos High School mean scores on ACT tests compared to last year’s mean score; 4) the number of students enrolled in either Dual Credit/ Early College Start courses or Advanced Placement (AP) courses; 5) the number of students successfully completing either Dual Credit or AP courses; and 6) the number of Distinguished Achievement Diplomas candidates.

The district must meet have of those objectives for the superintendent to reach that second goal.

The third goal of career and technical education programs in the district preparing students “to excel in a changing workplace,” demands increased performance in four objectives: 1) the number of CTE students enrolled in a coherent sequence of courses; 2) the percent of TAKS tests passed relative to the  total number of tests taken by CTE students enrolled in a coherent  sequence of courses; 3) the number of enrollments in Tech Prep courses that result in eligibility for college credit, and; 4) the number of students receiving industry certificates. The criteria for a proficient rating for this goal is that two of the objectives will be met.

The fourth goal for the superintendent is that the San Marcos CISD will maintain fiscal soundness. The objectives for this goal is that the: 1) district’s fund balance will be no less than three months worth of General Fund operating expenditures; 2) district will maintain bond ratings no less than A2 from Moody’s and A from Standard & Poor’s; and 3) district will be awarded the highest rating under the Financial Integrity Rating System for Texas (FIRST). All three of the objectives must be met for a proficient rating on the superintendent’s evaluation instrument.

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