Commissioner's Annual Performance Evaluation Criteria

In the absence of a rubric, criteria for the commissioner's annual performance evaluation was determined last fall by the Commissioner's Performance Evaluation Committee (Penny Noyce, Committee Chair; James Morton, Board Vice Chair; and Paul Sagan, Board Chair); all Board members were invited to provide input. Criteria were drawn from the Board's Mission Statement and goals in the Department's Strategic Plan. The Board is scheduled to conduct its public evaluation of Commissioner Chester at the Regular Meeting on Tuesday, June 28. As of this writing, the evaluation is agenda #5 of 11 items for Discussion and/or Vote.

Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
2015-2016 Performance Criteria
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education

The mission of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is to strengthen the Commonwealth’s public education system so that every student is prepared to succeed in postsecondary education, compete in the global economy, and understand the rights and responsibilities of American citizens, and in so doing, to close all proficiency gaps. The Commissioner is the secretary to the Board, its chief executive officer, and the chief state school officer for elementary and secondary education (Mass. General Laws chapter 15, section 1F).

In support of the Board’s mission and the goal of preparing all students for success after high school, the Commissioner and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) have adopted five core strategies (listed on page 1 of the Strategic Plan):
  • Strengthen standards, curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Promote educator development
  • Turn around the lowest-performing districts and schools
  • Use technology and data to support teaching and learning
  • Support students’ social/emotional health
The following performance criteria focus on the Commissioner’s roles, accountabilities, and goals and are organized in four categories:
  1. Promoting Student Achievement and Growth
  2. Management and Operations
  3. External Relations and Communication
  4. Board Support
The criteria promote measurable outcomes that are realistic and attainable. The Board is recommending setting these function areas into priorities that will set the Commissioner’s work plan and distribution of his time and efforts.

Performance Criteria
I. Facilitate Student Achievement and Growth (30%)
Make substantial progress on the five core strategies listed above to facilitate student growth and achievement, including:
  • Develop, implement, monitor, and report on clear turnaround strategies for Level 4 and 5 districts and schools 
  • Lead the effective rollout and implementation of major initiatives around curriculum and assessment, including the next generation of the statewide student assessment program
  • Promote educator development through continued implementation of RETELL, the educator evaluation system, and other initiatives
  • Ensure effective engagement of district leaders by promoting, motivating, measuring, and communicating progress of efforts to close proficiency gaps and raise student performance in underperforming districts
  • Develop a plan to address gaps in reading achievement
  • Develop and implement a plan to strengthen support for students’ social/emotional health

II. Management and Operations (25%)
  • Lead the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) by setting the vision, approving the strategies, and establishing a culture that promotes the Board’s mission and makes substantial progress on the five core strategies listed above
  • Manage within the parameters of DESE’s budget to achieve goals, including:
    • Report on and implement a strategic plan for DESE based on recommendations from the Fall 2015 organizational review
    • Ensure that the DESE is structured, staffed and aligned across all centers to meet its annual operational targets and stated goals, within the limitations of DESE’s budget and state hiring parameters
  • Respond appropriately to changes in federal and state requirements
  • Increase diversity within the DESE staff, and within the advisory groups

III. External Relations and Communication (25%)
  • Manage relationships and communications to maximize alignment of external stakeholders (e.g., Legislature, Governor’s Office/EOE, MTA, AFT-MA, MASS, MASC, principals’ associations, business groups, foundations) with the Board’s overall priorities and goals 
  • Engage and responsively communicate with the field and citizens regarding major Board and Department initiatives
  • Effectively lead the discussion and communications regarding Massachusetts educational policies and initiatives
  • Represent Massachusetts on the wider educational scene through participation, presentations, and leadership, enhancing the Commonwealth’s position as a national leader in K-12 education and positioning Massachusetts to benefit from best practices nationally and internationally

IV. Board Support/Effective Interactions (20%)
  • Effectively interact with members of the Board
  • Engage Board members in setting the strategic vision for DESE and discussing DESE priorities and local/national policy issues relevant to Massachusetts
  • Keep the Board updated on subjects necessary for the Board to fulfill its role, including timely transmission of materials for meetings
  • Receive feedback from Board members during annual performance review process

Rating Structure
•    Outstanding = 5
•    Very Good = 4
•    Proficient = 3
•    Needs Improvement = 2
•    Unsatisfactory = 1