New year begins with accolades for school superintendent


Monday night the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) school committee wrapped up a year-long evaluation of superintendent of schools James Weiss, his first under the state’s new educator evaluation system. The mandated review period was January 1, 2013 through January 1, 2014.

Mr. Weiss set goals in professional practice, student learning, and district improvement for the 2012-2013 school year, based on the new evaluation system. Last spring, a personnel subcommittee of the All-Island School Committee chose 7 of 41 elements to focus on in Mr. Weiss’s evaluation, which are included under 4 standards for superintendents in the new system. For example, under standard one, instructional leadership, the personnel committee chose “quality of effort and work,” and “diverse learners’ needs.”

Mr. Weiss’s evaluation is a combination of five reports done separately by school committees at the three down-Island elementary schools, and the Up-Island Regional and MVRHS school districts.

On Monday the high school committee concluded its evaluation process. The available ratings included exemplary, proficient, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory in each of the seven elements. Mr. Weiss received two exemplary ratings and five proficient.

“Overall, you received a rating of proficient,” high school committee member David Rossi told Mr. Weiss afterwards. “You did a good job.”

In other business, the school committee voted to approve principal Stephen Nixon’s request to schedule three half-days of school on February 5, March 5, and May 7. Students will be dismissed at 11 am so that teachers can participate in professional training from 11:30 am to 2:05 pm.

In the superintendent’s report, Mr. Weiss gave an update on the MV Arena’s plans to lease part of its property for construction of a cell phone tower to generate revenue. MV Arena received approval from the school committee last November. The ice arena bought the property from the MVRHS district in 1974 through special legislation that stipulated that the property’s sole purpose would be for recreation, specifically skating on an ice rink.

Mr. Weiss said the vote would allow the ice arena to move forward with its plans, while attorneys for the school district and arena verified that the cell tower met the special legislation’s legal requirements.

Mr. Weiss said Monday night he and the arena’s representatives and attorney recently met and worked out all the details of an agreement in a conference call with the school district’s attorney. Both sides are now waiting for the attorneys to finalize the document.

The school committee’s next meeting is on February 3.