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Evaluation Best Practices

The Evolution of SuperEval: Aligning District Leadership from the Boardroom to Schools

December 8th, 2020

This article originally appeared in The NYSCOSS December 2020 Councilgram Sponsor Spotlight, which may be accessed here.

Michael Horning JrEffective leadership is essential to a successful school district. What is focused on, is accomplished. The school district functions most effectively when the leadership operates as a focused team. These are key ideas leading to several guiding questions:

  • How do we encourage focused performance and professional growth in educational leaders?
  • How do we establish a feedback process that is fair, reliable, objective, and evidential?
  • How do we align reasonable and strategic performance goals?
  • How can organization leaders work collaboratively to impact organizational goals and priorities?

Our team’s answers to these important key ideas and guiding questions are foundational to our SuperEval initiative.

What is SuperEval?

SuperEval is the premier leadership evaluation online platform used by superintendents across New York State. Originally, SuperEval was designed solely as a superintendent evaluation platform. Superintendents found great meaning in leading an objective, reflective, and evidence-based evaluation with their Boards. An intended outcome was achieved with focused and meaningful feedback from the Board to the superintendent. One of the most valuable parts of the experience was also an unintended outcome: The evaluation process led to deeper, more meaningful year-end conversations with a mindset of continuous improvement.

Expanding SuperEval to Include Other School Leaders

As a result of this success, superintendents wanted the same evaluation process and experiences for those they evaluated on their leadership team. They wanted them to define annual goals, reflect on their leadership practices, and conduct a self-assessment along with illustrations of leadership practices. Our SuperEval team accepted and met the challenge of expanding the functionality of SuperEval for all the administrators within a district.

An important outcome of expanding SuperEval to the district leadership teams is the concept of aligning and cascading district goals and priorities. SuperEval helps districts structure this alignment allowing district priorities to become superintendent goals cascading down the leadership team throughout the organization.

Standardized Rubrics Within SuperEval

Although the evaluation process for district leadership is consistent, the leadership competencies from which a leader reflects and conducts a self-assessment can vary among the roles. In other words, the SuperEval process is agnostic to the evaluation instrument. Superintendents can choose from NYSSBA or NYSCOSS rubrics reflecting on professional practices of superintendents while principals can choose from the Multidimensional Principal Performance Rubric (MPPR), the Marshall Principal Evaluation Rubric, or the Thoughtful Classroom Principal Effectiveness Framework, to reflect on leadership practices characterizing the role of the principal. Other specialized rubrics used in the system including the ASBO New York Rubric for school business officials while those district administrators leading technology initiatives have the option of reflecting on the CoSN’s Evaluation Rubric for the Chief Technology Officer. Find out more about the rubrics available in SuperEval.

Assert Your Performance

Regardless of the leadership role, the SuperEval process empowers the educational leader to reflect on their leadership practices and build a leadership portfolio to assert one’s performance rather than defend it. This allows every member of the district admin team to evolve into a district leadership team transcending evaluation from an event of compliance to an ongoing process of great meaning!

For more information about SuperEval, please contact our team or watch our micro-case study in Alexander CSD.

Horning, M. (2020). The evolution of SuperEval: Aligning district leadership from the boardroom to schools. The Councilgram, 10(5), 18.

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