New London school board takes long look at itself

New London - The Board of Education met Thursday in executive session to discuss board members' responses to a self-assessment questionnaire.

Board members' answers to the 26-question self-assessment issued by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education will remain confidential.

Nick Caruso, a representative from CABE, facilitated the discussion, which he said before the closed-door session would be a "frank conversation."

"The evaluation isn't a scorecard per say, it's more an opportunity to say 'As you look at these answers, what conversations do we need to have?'" Caruso said. "It's more of a trigger point, finding what the most important things are that we need to cover."

Caruso said that prior to Thursday's executive session the school board was asked whether it wanted to wait to take the evaluation and board members elected not to.

"This was self initiated, it wasn't mandated," Caruso said. "We encourage boards to do this annually, some don't and some are very good about doing it once a year. Others do it every two or three years."

This is the first time since the November 2011 election that school board members have taken the CABE self-assessment.

Questions on the assessment include whether the board adopts annual goals and priorities for district improvement, whether improving student learning is the primary focus in the board's decision making, and whether the board deals with conflicts openly and honestly.

In addition to the questions, members were also asked to respond through short answers to prompts about topics including board visions, operations and ethics as well as board/superintendent relationships and general comments.

"As long as people are open and honest about what they're expecting and honest about what their goals are as a board it could be productive," Chairman William Morse said before the meeting. "I'm hoping what comes out of this is the good that's come from the board so far and where we need to put the extra effort."

j.hanckel@theday.com

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