Ypsilanti School Board begins evaluation of Superintendent Dedrick Martin
In a self-assessment, first-year Ypsilanti Public School District Superintendent Dedrick Martin provided the school board with an extensive list of the district’s accomplishments and action taken under his watch, including the deficit elimination plan and programs geared toward boosting achievement and graduation rates.
The self-assessment, presented at the school board's Monday meeting, started off his evaluation process. Next, the board will provide their own evaluation of Martin at their Aug. 26 meeting.
The superintendent is scored on five performance goals:
â€¢ Planning, staffing and assessment, which includes systematic evaluation of staff and development of a districtwide strategic plan. â€¢ Instructional leadership. â€¢ Fiscal responsibility. â€¢ Communication and community engagement. â€¢ Operations and facilities management.
Martin provided an extensive list of the district’s accomplishments and action taken under his watch. He arrived at YPS last September just as the district was preparing to submit a deficit elimination plan calling for $6.4 million in budget cuts.
The district hired Chief Financial Officer David Houle shortly after Martin, leaving the newly assembled administration team roughly a month to develop the deficit elimination plan. Martin said he was pleased the team was able to sift through 10 years of information and prepare a solid plan quickly.
The district made roughly $4 million in cuts, but an unforeseen spike in health care and retirement costs added $2 million to the remaining $2.4 million. Still, Martin is optimistic about the district’s financial course.
“I think we made significant progress and trimmed about $4 million out of the budget, but we still kept our core instructional programming and athletics in place,” he said.
Martin said he’s confident the district can realize the additional savings through negotiations with the district's teacher’s union, the Ypsilanti Education Association, and other unions. He praised the YPS unions and employees who already willingly took 3-percent pay cuts and started making greater contributions to their health care costs.
“We have a lot of people working hard and doing a good job, and we really want to reward them, not take from them,” he said.
Martin pointed to new programs developed or in development, such as the New Tech High School, a credit recovery program and securing recently shuttered East Middle School for the International Baccalaureate program through the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.
“I’m excited that we are forging new opportunities I think those are great for the Ypsilanti community, the district and students,” he said. Martin explained some of the programs were developed out of the need to boost high school students' achievement and graduation rate.
“We’re saying that our graduation rate is not where it should be, but we were able to put something in place. We hope to see the fruits of that labor in the upcoming future,” he said.
YPS has seen success in its K-8 buildings. Students there significantly raised test scores last year. Martin said he can’t take credit for those scores, but he is excited about that change and improvements.
“That’s a testament to all of our staff and administration,” he said. “We’re seeing more things going in the right direction, and hopefully we continue to see that.”
Each board member will take the presentation and Martin’s statements into consideration as they score him in the different areas. Their evaluations will be presented to one board member, and an aggregate score will then be presented to Martin. Martin said he did not yet know for sure if the presentation would be public.