School board trustees give superintendent high marks
MINDEN – Douglas County Superintendent Carol Lark’s performance was given good grades at a public evaluation meeting on July 24.
In her evaluation in December 2006, Lark was praised for her strong communication skills as well as her dedication to her job.
“The most important thing is student achievement,” said Lark.
Lark presented statistics that show progress in student development.
Annual progress statistics had increased overall in the time that Lark has been in the district.
“The students are doing exceptionally well,” Lark said.
Lark wants to focus on core subjects – particularly English, math and science. Lark plans to strengthen the core science program in middle school so students will be more prepared for science class when they reach high school.
Lark also plans to concentrate on holding counseling sessions for students going into ninth grade and their parents to ensure both are on the right track for graduation. She said this counseling program was successful when it was implemented last year.
Lark cited several recent challenges for the district, including the school bus accident, field and track issues at Douglas High School, the funeral for a soldier, the Topaz fire and the high school lockdowns. But she said many of the issues have been addressed successfully.
There are five priorities Lark will focus on in the near future.
They are intervention opportunities and alternative programs for students, critical content and common assessment development for classes, academic and career guidance, middle school courses and content revised to prepare students for rigorous high school curriculum, and classroom teachers and administrators will ensure that critical content, state standards, district competencies and common assessments.
One issue the board presented to Lark was how principals assess development and teacher effectiveness within classrooms.
Lark said she expects principals to write full notes when they visit classrooms, rather than just taking down the teacher’s name and giving a score, so she can better evaluate performance of both teachers and students.
“What I look for when I walk up the stairs and into a classroom with the principal is, do the students look surprised to see the principal?” Lark said. “That gives me some of my answer right there.”
“I’m glad you changed the way you hired new principals,” said board member Cynthia Trigg. “I am firm and confident that you are bringing the best people in for these positions.”
“I hope you continue to do the job you’re doing,” Trigg said. “I think the board did a fantastic job in hiring you.”
“I think it’s been an amazing first year,” board member Teri Jamin contributed. “Your personality and communication skills are your strongest assets. You’ve made a lot of headway this year.”
“I feel your focus is very strong,” said member Karen Chessell. “Your objectives are clear, and I think you are right on target.”
Member Sharla Hales had several concerns for Lark.
“I have a critical concern about your relationship with your cabinet,” Hales said, addressing rumors of conflicts between Lark and her peers. “If we’re not all moving in the same direction, I do fear for our student achievement.”
“People don’t like change,” Lark replied. “If we are going to take the district from good to great, I can’t remain at status quo.”
Lark spoke very highly of those she has been working with.
“I agree with your strengths that have been mentioned by the others,” Hales said.
Board president John Louritt said that he was Lark’s “harshest critic,” but he felt she was giving a “satisfactory performance.”
“Inside of a year, you can only take in so much information and improve on it,” Louritt said.
The motioned to deem Lark’s performance satisfactory was passed 6-0.