City | 8:10 pm | February 6, 2014 | By Pooja Salhotra

Superintendent gives self high marks

Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries ’95 filled out his own mid-year evaluation and awarded himself positive rankings.

The evaluation considers Harries’ first five months as superintendent. Harries scores himself on the same five-part scale that the district uses to evaluate its teachers and administrators: with 1 being the lowest rating, 3 being effective and 5 being exemplary. Overall, Harries claims that his early performance has been strong but that the district still has room for improvement.

“We have accomplished a great deal together as a district, and have much further to go in order to provide the education we all believe our students deserve,” Harries wrote in his self-evaluation. “In my early months in office, including my Listening Tour, I have heard loud and clear the desire for transformative results, not simply transmitting academic knowledge, but providing deep learning experiences that engage our students and empower them for success in college, career, and life.”

The Board of Education will publicly present its own evaluation of Harries at a meeting on Feb. 10. The evaluation will help inform the Board’s decision of whether to renew Harries’ contract. Harries was appointed a one-year contract as superintendent last July, and the Board must decide by March 1 whether to renew it.

In his evaluation, Harries notes improvements in the high school graduation rate and reductions in the drop-out rate since the School Change Initiative was implemented. As Assistant Superintendent, Harries helped craft that reform initiative five years ago.

For the goal of “Collaboration and Engagement” Harries gave himself full marks. As examples of his positive interactions with the community, Harries mentions his listening tour, engagement of civil leadership and “active social media presence.” He also recognizes the need to increase engagement with parents, including those who are undocumented. For “Transparency, Access and Equity” Harries ranks himself “strong.” Here he highlights progress in financial reporting and decision-making, including narrowing a roughly $9.5 million budget deficit from the 2013-2014 school year to $3.5 million as of November. He also records his efforts to clarify the kindergarten enrollment process.

In the area of “Student Impact,” Harries ranked himself as “effective,” noting his success in supporting the transition to the Common Core Curriculum and his actions to turnaround underperforming schools. However he writes that the district still needs to address disengaged youth and “generate meaningful traction with career oriented pathways.”

For the last goal, “Organizational leadership,” Harries ranked himself “strong.” This goal calls for providing a vision, strategy, implementation for transformed student outcomes.

Harries was appointed Superintendent on July 22 2013 after serving as Assistant Superintendent for four years.

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