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Willmar School Board begins to develop goals for superintendent

WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board has started the process of developing personal goals for Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard.

The board recently approved a new two-year contract for Kjergaard, which will run through June 30, 2016. At a workshop meeting, board members offered suggestions for goals. They will be compiled and considered later.

After an annual performance review in August, the board set some goals for Kjergaard that mirror the district’s strategic plan, including efforts to coordinate curriculum throughout the district, building partnerships with families and the community, and restructuring the English Language Learner Program. Other goals including installing a staff development and evaluation plan and preparing the district’s facilities for 21st century learning.

Some of those efforts are already under way.

Suggestions included:

- Moving forward with evaluations of district administrators without waiting for the state to release an evaluation tool;

- Developing a plan for maintaining school turnaround efforts once federal grants are no longer available for Kennedy Elementary School;

- Hiring a communications director for the district;

- Surveying staff to address morale issues;

- Implementing Professional Learning Communities for staff development across the district;

- Developing a fine arts and activities committee to prepare for future;

- Providing frequent updates on activity in the district office;

- Visiting each school building at least once a month;

A new coordinator has been hired for the ELL program and a task force is studying the district’s facilities.

Board chairman Nathan Streed said he had asked each board member to provide a short list of measurable goals for Kjergaard to address in the coming year. The lists will be compiled by board member Mike Carlson and considered at a future meeting.

The board had a split vote on approving Kjergaard’s contract two weeks ago, and concerns about staff morale raised by board members voting against his contract. Some of those concerns were included in the list, along with other ideas large and small.

The board received an update on the latest achievement data from Willmar schools.

The state judges school districts on how many students meet proficiency goals on state tests. They are also expected to show academic growth for students and show that achievement gaps are being closed.

Tom Beyer, a math coach for the district’s elementary schools, explained the impact of the different scores.

“All students can grow, no matter where they come in, they can grow,” Beyer told the board. “We will never make proficiency (goals) if we don’t make growth and growth across all areas. … We need all groups to be successful.”

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340
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