BENNINGTON >> The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union board unanimously approved on Wednesday the superintendent's guidelines for evaluating administrators.

Superintendent Jim Culkeen had put the plan before the board at its January meeting, but Bennington representative George Sleeman as requested more time to review the document. The plan, which is available on the SVSU's website, describes the evaluation process. "The evaluation framework begins with a self-assessment and observation of practice and examination of evidence," it reads, "but incorporates two more elements: validation by examining indicators of student growth and learning outcomes; and assessing evidence of leadership standards and professional contributions. The various elements are combined effectively to create a unified system. All three elements are essential for providing educators with the information they need to grow professionally and to improve student growth and learning. When combining observations with other indicators, the relationship to student outcomes becomes stronger, and better identifies teaching effectiveness."

Culkeen said this is the same system that was used last year. The process applies to principals, directors, and other building administrators.

Board chairman Ken Swierad also congratulated the state's recent performance in a report from USA Today, in which Vermont was given an 'A' on how stringent the background check requirements are for being hired as a teacher. "The state does a real good job, working with the federal government on all these background checks," he said, "There is a problem in some states, where teachers will bounce from Mississippi to South Carolina to Arkansas after they're accused of a molestation, or stealing, or whatever it is, because they don't keep very good records. But the federal government is looking into getting one database for teachers, so if they have a problem in one state, everybody will know about it. But, it's a good feather in the hat for the state of Vermont."


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The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union board meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Mount Anthony Union Middle School library. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.