Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Berman Out in Jefferson County

JCPS Superintendent
Sheldon Berman
to be replaced

A lack of urgency on achievement cited

Yesterday, while JCPS Board members were pondering the fate of Superintendent Shelly Berman, the rest of the city was reading this: Will overhaul help or harm academically struggling Iroquois High School? This is the first in a series of planned articles about six Jefferson County high schools listed as “persistently low achieving. The law calls for an overhaul of failing schools. But supporters say the poor performance masks the real, if modest, gains Iroquois has made while serving some of the district's most challenging students, many of whom arrive years behind in school, disillusioned with learning and lacking support at home.

And they question whether changes that could result in a wave of new teachers and administrators — not just at Iroquois but other so-called “failing” schools — is simply change to placate the public and politicians with no guarantee of success.

“We have been concerned with the stagnant growth
in the key areas of reading and math.
As a board, we wish to refocus our energies
on student achievement on every level
with an emphasis on making substantial progress
in student performance.”

----JCPS Board Chair Debbie Wessslund

This from Toni Konz at C-J:

The Jefferson County Board of Education decided Monday night to replace Sheldon Berman as school superintendent.

After an interim evaluation of his job performance in a private session, the board voted 5-2 not to renew Berman's contract when it expires in June. Instead, the board will begin a nationwide search for a new superintendent.

“The most important duty of the (school board) is to choose and support a superintendent who will lead a successful school system that prepares all students for post-secondary education and careers,” board Chairwoman Debbie Wesslund said in a statement read during the public portion of the meeting.

“We reviewed past evaluations of the superintendent, student performance progress under his leadership, as well as management and operations issues,” she said. “The board has determined that it will not renew his contract.” ...
Berman told C-J he was “very surprised and disappointed” with the board's decision. “We've made a lot of progress and have some very important initiatives that are moving forward in a very positive direction,” Berman claimed.

But the past year has been marked with controversy and discontent, including parents complaining about long bus rides required by the district's student assignment plan and a growing number of district schools being listed among the state's lowest performers.

Direct link to C-J video here.

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