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Posted on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board determines 4 metrics for evaluating Superintendent Patricia Green

By Danielle Arndt


The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education discussed at Wednesday's Committee of the Whole meeting what this year's process would be for evaluating Superintendent Patricia Green.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

Previous coverage:

The Ann Arbor Board of Education identified Wednesday four student growth measures and a goal-inspired rubric it will use to evaluate Superintendent Patricia Green in June.

The board discussion also included community surveys and what information it is obligated to make public.

The discussion on how to modify the board's superintendent evaluation process to meet new state requirements was sandwiched Wednesday between two closed, executive sessions to informally review Green, who is in her second year with the district.

The board started its executive session at 5:30 p.m. and recessed a few minutes after 7 p.m. to begin the scheduled Committee of the Whole meeting. The board then re-entered closed session at about 9:20 p.m. for about another hour.

Starting in the 2013-14 academic year, Michigan law will require 25 percent of superintendent evaluations to be based on student growth and achievement data. Five percent of the performance evaluations must be based on student attendance. And school boards will be required to establish some way of qualitatively ranking their sole employees on a scale of "ineffective" or "minimally ineffective" to "effective" and "highly effective."

Another 10 percent of a superintendent's evaluation, per state law, has to do with ensuring the district is implementing new effectiveness measures for teacher evaluations, which are being fleshed out by the state right now, said Board Vice President Christine Stead, who led Ann Arbor's evaluation discussion Wednesday.

She said Ann Arbor Public Schools is meeting this obligation, and first began piloting a Charlotte Danielson-based model for teacher evaluations last fall. This model is being used district-wide this year, Green added. The Danielson model is one of four evaluation methods the state currently is piloting as well, for its statewide teacher evaluation system, coming in 2014.

While the board waits for more guidance on what will be expected of superintendent evaluations, there are a few pieces that are known, such as school boards will need four measurable areas for configuring superintendents' student-growth ratings and school boards have a lot of flexibility, at least for now, in whether they use national, state or local assessments or some other objective student growth data, said David Comsa, AAPS deputy superintendent of human resources and legal services.

Stead said student grade point averages, for example, could be considered subjective.

Green made one suggestion to the board regarding the student-growth piece, and that was to make sure her growth measurements align with the district's achievement and discipline gap data.

"Those are the measures we are monitoring very significantly … and are looking at our subgroups where we have been focusing on the disproportionality," Green said, adding most employees in the district are being held accountable for closing the achievement and discipline gaps. "If the metric for my evaluation is different than what I'm holding my staff accountable for, they're holding principals accountable for and teachers are being held accountable for … then it doesn't make much sense.

Patricia Green.JPG

AAPS Superintendent Patricia Green

"As superintendent, I'm the orchestra leader. I don't always play all the instruments. … It's my staff and the staff in the trenches that carry out all the work."

Stead said this was a good point.

Closing the discipline and achievement gaps at AAPS are high priorities on the superintendent's list of goals and objectives. The term "achievement gap" refers to the test score disparity that exists between Caucasian students and their African American, Hispanic, special education and economically disadvantaged peers. Caucasian students typically outperform their peers on standardized tests. But under Green's direction, AAPS has launched a plan to improve minority students and other low-performers' test scores.

Similarly, more African American, Hispanic, special education and low-income students receive out-of-school suspensions and expulsions than Caucasian students at AAPS. These achievement and discipline gap findings at AAPS mirror national trends and statistics.

The four student growth measurements the board agreed upon for its superintendent evaluation were: Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) data, Michigan Merit Exam (MME) data, graduation rates and Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) data. This data will be looked at district wide and broken down into subgroups based on student demographics and grade level when appropriate.

These data — MEAP, MME, NWEA and graduation rates — all were included in the administration's student achievement report to the board in October, which is partially why these measures were chosen.

The board also will be develop a rubric for this year's evaluation. The trustees discussed using something similar to the tool the Michigan Association of Schools Boards published. But ultimately, board members were not in favor of this.

The MASB developed a sample evaluation form in 2011 after the new law was passed that school boards were encouraged to use. It employs a point system (1 point for "ineffective" and 4 points for "highly effective") to score a superintendent in 11 categories, such as staff relationships, business and finance, educational leadership, personal qualities and community relations.

Each category is weighted to meet the state-mandated percentages for student achievement data. A total score is tallied by each trustee.

An average of all the trustees' scores would equate to an overall rating for the superintendent. A score of 85 to 100 percent is deemed highly effective, 68 to 84 percent is effective, 50 to 67 percent is minimally effective and less than 50 percent is ineffective.

Green asked Wednesday if board members knew of any school districts in Michigan that were using the MASB's evaluation model.

"I don't know of any school district using this form, but I wanted to know if you do," she said. "I've been talking with my colleagues in Washtenaw County about their evaluations and I know they are not using this."

Stead said she was not aware of any districts either. Board President Deb Mexicotte said last year, she worked her way through the MASB tool as a "thought exercise" in preparing for the board's discussion-based evaluation.

"I thought there were some good things on there; I thought there were some humorous things… And then there were those things I thought 'Gosh, I don't know why they'd put this on here,'" she said.

The board decided to use the superintendent's goals that were established in August to shape the evaluation rubric and categories. Stead said she would draft something and send it to other board members for input on what each category should be weighted or worth in the evaluation — excluding those categories, like student achievement, that already have state-mandated percentages. Discipline data would be factored into one of the to-be-determined categories.

Green's goals for the current school year were broken down into five categories:

  • Strategic planning
  • Budget, technology, the discipline gap and accountability
  • Community outreach
  • Curriculum, student achievement and student growth
  • Personnel management

The board also agreed to stick with its practice of issuing a statement summarizing the board's concerns and opinions about the superintendent's performance at the end of its discussion-driven evaluation.

Comsa said for this school year, the board legally can continue doing what it always has done with the summation statement. However, Mexicotte added next year the state may require the board to publicly report some type of quantifiable score or effectiveness rating.

The board reached consensus that it would make its new evaluation rubric available to the public this year, so people can see how the board arrives at its summation statement, what topics are considered and discussed and how those items are weighted. But Comsa advised the trustees that their individual or aggregate scores would not necessarily have to be produced in a Freedom of Information Act request. He told board members the individual notes they take going into the discussion-based evaluation are not public documents.

The community feedback mechanism will remain the same as 2012 for evaluating the superintendent in June. Each of the seven school board members can select a handful of people whose input they feel could be valuable to the discussion. The superintendent also can suggest people.

The suggestions then are sent to Mexicotte, and she mails out a survey on behalf of the board to those community members the trustees recommend. The district destroys the mailing list and the returned surveys at the end of the process to ensure community confidentiality.

Those asked to complete the survey often include teachers, building principals, union leaders and other vocal members of the public. Last year, the board distributed 90 surveys and received 57 back, according to previous reports.

When the surveys are returned, the one or two trustees in charge of managing the superintendent review open them and prepare a summary for the whole board to consider throughout its conversation the night of the evaluation.

Mexicotte described the entire evaluation process as a math equation: the required metrics, superintendent goals/objectives and the weighting + the narrative/discussion, community feedback and individual trustees' judgments and observations = the evaluation statement that is produced the night of the formal review.

The following is a draft of the board's superintendent evaluation timeline:


Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

In other words, punishing a minority student for a crime will actually lower her evaluation. And better performance on tests from non-minority students will also lower her evaluation. Basically, Patricia Green is the manifestation of absurd and racist politics from the school board. Blaming her is like blaming the hall monitors for a school shooting.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Where do Asian-American students' scores get counted in terms of the "achievement gap?" How can the Superintendent possibly receive a positive performance review when the district is $2.5 million over budget? Who will be held accountable for that?

Dog Guy

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

Add two more metrics and the board can entomb accountability in a "rubric" cube of jargon.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

I have drafted and deleted so many reactions to this, but perhaps I can sum them up this way: I am thankful I am out of that district. I routinely saw "low achieving" (but high potential) students systematically excluded from achievement statistics by administrators and teachers encouraging them not to participate in standardized exams. At the same time, the attribution of achievement difficulties is solely on the student, not the classroom experience or instruction. Despicable.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

So what does a superintendent actually do? I would think a principal of a school is more accountable. I wonder if one metric is the so called "achievement gap". All they have to do is study the demographic group and work at emulating the high achiever. The other metric - would be discipline

soggy waffle

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

Unfortunately Ms. Green's response to the achievement and discipline gap is to forbid teachers from suspending students of color. Instead of acknowledging the student discipline metric, and responding accordingly, they've simply changed the rules. It doesn't address underlying equity issues, where students from the South Golfside area (2 apt complexes in particular) are bused into the snobbiest school in the district. Interestingly, the district buses kids from Barton Hills to the same school. Wealthy kids in this school grow up thinking that all students of color are poor, and suffer from the problems that poor kids often have; and the kids of color think that all white people are rich and racist. Ms. Green is simply pursuing "administrative progress" rather than addressing anything substantive.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

The Board just now decided how they'll be evaluating the superintendent in June?? I hope they understand that for those specific criteria they should only be evaluating her for the time in between when they decided how they would evaluate her and when they do the evaluation. Otherwise, how in the world was she supposed to know what criteria she would be measured by?


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Let's take closing the Achievement Gap. In their own words "Closing the achievement gap — or performance disparity between white students and their black and Hispanic peers — has been a priority of Ann Arbor Public Schools' for nearly 31 years." Seems to me after a myriad of plans, none are working. Then you read their latest plan contains among several items the following, 1) Building equity teams, 2) Quality professional development 3) parent and community engagement 4) Student engagement. Honestly, how are these measurable and what have they been doing for 31 years? You also have to wonder if they talk to the students with this "mumble-jumble" jargon no wonder some of our kids have difficulty learning.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

That's Dr. Mumble-Jumble to you.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

From the comments being made the orchestra seems to be out of tune.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

The Board of Education is hiding in the bunker again drinking their Kool-Aid and claiming "All is Well". Hiding the evaluation means no one can be blamed, because there is no record. With no record, Dr Green either finishes out her contract, or gets paid for leaving, so the option of asking her to leave is not on the table. So the BOE can never have failed at hiring her. I love the logic here. Way to go BOE. Discipline Gap? Not any more - we just ignore those issues that have any impact on raising the wrong numbers, teachers "deal with it". Achievement Gap? Move the special education students around so they don't have enough numbers in any school to count. Keep new students that might impact the numbers in a non-special education support program. Teachers "deal with it" Yes, shuffle the deck chairs and figure out how to hide the real issues, after all the district only has to look good on paper, right? Real learning is NOT important (see J.A. Pieper's comment if you don't believe me).


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

This week, teachers in Ann Arbor are being asked to vote on a 3% cut in their wages next year to help reduce the deficit the district is facing. This vote is occurring even though Dr. Green and the school board still have not made public what the cuts will be next year. This is poor management, and is beginning to look like purposeful stalling to prevent the public outcry that is sure to ensue once people are made aware of some of the cost saving moves. It seems to me that making sure the district is solvent and planning for future solvency, in a transparent way, should be at the top of the rubric right now.

Cindy Heflin

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

We have a story about the tentative agreement on which teachers are voting today:


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

I TOTALLY agree! I had thought the teachers were going to be asked to take a ONE % cut, but I found out last night it is THREE%. This is on top of the years of pay freezes in steps, more hours etc etc. Yes, WHERE is Green's announcement that SHE is leading the way with a .... 3-5% cut?? Come on, be a LEADER!!! Ugh, it's just disgusting.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

Prediction: Green will get a glowing recommendation. The School Board hired her and overpaid her. Anything less than a very good rec will make them look foolish.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

You mean MORE foolish.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

I think a survey of random teachers would be more valuable than surveying hand-picked teachers. Let's ask the staff how Green is doing so far so she can get some honest feedback of what she's doing well and where she needs to improve.

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

I hope whatever comes out of this benefits everyone involved, especially the students.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.

How about the metric representing how much money has been lost?


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

The community feedback aspect is ridiculous. So each board member (and superintendent) gets a few surveys, and distributes them to those who they deem worthy of productive feedback. This is just a way to get quantifiable information that will probably make them look good. Well, looks like I won't be getting one this year!

J. A. Pieper

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 10:19 a.m.

Okay, AAPS has this covered on at least a couple of the metrics. A lot of testing is "subjective", especially at the elementary level. I can have a student pass a reading assessment because they "talk" about what they have read, and I can accept any logical answer. Hence, on the district assessments, all students can easily be at grade level. Discipline Gap? Got that covered too, teachers are not allowed to discipline students from specific races, so that will show a decline also! So, we will look good on paper, and so will her evaluation! Maybe there ought to be a metric related to how many of our families are leaving the district, as those who leave are the kind of families that help make AAPS look good. Follow up with the students we import through schools of choice, may of which are escaping from school districts to our East, and believe me, we are not replacing apples for apples!


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

"Wow, really? I guess the question we need to be asking is ... what is this teaching those kids?" That if you commit a violent act towards another with say a cleat or a crutch, the BOE will write a letter on your behalf that it's not your fault.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

The school board is allowing this to happen. The school board should required to test accuracy of these metrics by comparing on-site observation of classrooms with the paper metrics and new blocks on discipline. Kids can slide by and get good grades and there is no accountability while on paper it will look like this superintendent and her hires have resolved the achievement gap.

Love A2

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

"teachers are not allowed to discipline students from specific races" Wow, really? I guess the question we need to be asking is ... what is this teaching those kids?


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

Amen! Our schools are going to hell in a hand basket.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 10:12 a.m.

The secrecy is outrageous. The review should be made public.