GROTON — Completing her first year as superintendent of the Groton-Dunstable School District, Dr. Kristan Rodriguez received glowing remarks during her evaluation.
The process used this year was based on an education evaluation protocol recommended by the state and adopted by the School Committee.
The evaluation was done prior to the upcoming School Committee elections in order to have input from those committee members with whom she worked all year. School Committee Chair Alison Manugian presented the four main state standards using a slide presentation.
“The four key categories included instructional leadership, family and community engagement, management and operations, and professional culture.”
With the grade of “proficient” representing and indicator of “great work” and “exemplary” modeling the state’s highest standards, Manugian said, “We wanted to make sure that exemplary was used in a meaningful way, and the superintendent deservedly received this rating in two areas.”
One was Rodriguez’s leadership in Instruction. Additionally, in looking at performance goals, while meeting expectations in the categories of professional practice, student learning and professional development, Rodriguez exceeded expectations in the category of district improvement.
Summarizing the consensus document, Manugian said, “We all agree that the district has experienced a fabulous first year under your leadership, but we will be setting the bar higher in future years, and we’re looking forward to seeing more great things out of you!”
Dr. Chris Scott, executive director of the Valley Collaborative, asking Groton-Dunstable to support the establishment of a Capital Reserve Fund that would be utilized in the future to financially cover items such as the replacement of windows or the maintenance of their Billerica campus building’s HVAC system, so as not to raise the tuition rates.
“We have completely separated ourselves from MEC and now, independently, own property and buildings in which to educate our students, as well as our fleet of transportation vans. We funded these items under budget and have money remaining that would be put into the Capital Reserve Fund, an interest-bearing account, for future needs,” Scott explained.
The Valley Collaborative is making this same request of all nine member school districts, but the Groton-Dunstable School Committee is the first to have asked for a presentation and additional information.
School Committee member Jon Sjoberg said, “We need to be transparent to our communities regarding all financial decisions we make for the district.”
The Valley Collaborative serves students in grades K-12 as well as young adults, who have graduated but who require additional assistance in transitioning into jobs.
“We are trying to keep our tuition rates stable,” Scott said, “and we look at the Capital Reserve Fund as a form of risk management.”
With concerns about a lack of control over how the money is spent exchanged by various School Committee members, Rodriguez said, “I am your voice on the collaborative board … I vote for the district and I will vote in the district’s best interest, with your guidance.”
With that assurance and a better understanding of the Groton-Dunstable school district’s relationship with the Valley Collaborative, the School Committee voted to approve the establishment of the Capital Reserve Fund.