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Monfredo: Superintendent Binienda Releases Her Mid-Cycle Report

Saturday, July 21, 2018

 

Maureen Binienda

This week as part of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) process Superintendent Maureen Binienda presented to the School Committee her Mid-cycle update on her goals and state-wide standards for education. The evaluation process is based on an “evaluation cycle process.”  The Cycle begins with a self-assessment by the Superintendent used to identify areas of strength as well as areas requiring further development.”

Second, the Superintendent and the School Committee agree on the topics which will be the focus of a school district initiative and student learning.  The goals are required to be specific, measurable, and actionable. In addition, the evaluation assesses the performances of the Superintendent to four Standards – Instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement, and professional culture. Part way through the year, the School Committee reviews a report from the Superintendent as to what progress has been made and offers feedback.   

Thus, last Thursday the Mid Cycle report took place.  After an explanation of the standards the Superintendent followed up with the goal presentation of the district’s accomplishments.  First,  Superintendent Binienda articulated her progress on each of the four standards…

Instructional Leadership –  (Here is a short summary) she stated that her administration has provided support and assistance to administrators to learn and use effective strategies to instruct educators to develop well-structured lessons with challenging measurable objectives, student engagement, pacing, use of technology and student grouping… to that end, the Superintendent with principals and district leaders observes teaching practices and identifies teaching practices to diverse learners.

Management and Operations -   The superintendent said that she has encouraged her administrative teams to develop procedures for positive student behavior and the social and emotional well- being of the students. Strong emphasis was placed on professional development and was aligned to the district goals.

Family and Community Engagement – The Superintendent spoke about the importance of the district’s work in the establishment of community partnerships and working to identify and remove barriers to family involvement in schools by setting clear expectations for frequent communications and responding carefully and promptly to communications from the home.

Professional Culture – Superintendent Binienda has planned and facilitated engaging meetings in which administration learned together and created solutions to instructional leadership issues.  Also, she modeled strategies to administrators on responding respectfully and effectively to disagreements and developed a shared educational vision with the administration on student opportunities for college and career.

Superintendent Binenda updated the School Committee on the status of her six goals which are Professional Practice, Student Learning, Interventions/ Support, District Improvement, Targeted Professional Development, District Improvement, and a Positive School Climate in all schools.

Without going into details on all the goals let me focus in on the last one – Positive School Climate. As a former principal, this goal is essential to the rest of the goals for it sets a positive climate at the school. The Superintendent will continue to support the development of a positive school climate at all schools and expand the interventions of social and emotional learning.  She will also continue to enforce appropriate disciplinary rules and procedures.  She went on to say that after a successful year in monitoring and advocating for good practices in chronic absenteeism more will continue during the next school year by evaluating student and staff attendance and identifying individuals in need of improvement.  In addition, next month staff members will have the opportunity to hear noted author Peter Dewitt speak on “School Climate and Efficacy” which will set the stage for the beginning of the new school year and emphasize the importance of school climate.

On a personal note, I have been most impressed with the work ethic and high standards of Superintendent Binienda.  She has continued with her positive engagement within the community, has been very transparent with issues, places the safety of our students first, addresses problems within the schools immediately, has an uncanny ability to really listen to others, has continued her commitment of establishing strong partnerships within the community and stands out as a champion for public education.

I have listened to city leaders, parents, and the public talk about her passion for education, her high energy, outstanding work ethics, and most importantly her eagerness to do all that she can to make a difference in the lives of our students.

She is a committed leader and continues to move our school system to the next level.  Two years ago, when applying for the position of superintendent, Mrs. Binenda referred to herself as an “urban warrior,” an individual who will go far above and beyond educating and supporting children.  She indeed has lived up to the name.  In addition, she embodies a philosophy of making decisions that are in the best interest of all children and without a doubt has exhibited the knowledge, passion, expertise and the energy to move our school system into the 21st century.

 

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