Superintendent Gets High Marks in School Committee Evaluation

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Charlie Breitrose

Watertown Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald.

Watertown Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald.

Charlie Breitrose

Watertown Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald.

The School Committee submitted its evaluation of Watertown Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald, and she got high marks. 

Fitzgerald received the one of the two highest marks from all seven School Committee members on the five district goals and several other categories required by the state to be included in the evaluation, said School Committee Chairwoman Eileen Hsu-Balzer at Monday’s School Committee meeting.

Hsu-Balzer read out comments made by the School Committee, but did not attribute them. The full evaluation is available in the Watertown Public Schools Central Offices in the Phillips Building.

“Under leadership of Dr. Fitzgerald, the Watertown Public Schools continue to move in a positive direction … It is a very exciting time for the Watertown Public Schools,” a School Committee wrote.

School Committee members pointed to Fitzgerald’s relationship with her staff and administrators as one of her strengths.

Dr. Fitzgerald has developed a great working relationship with teachers and administrators. These relationships are based on mutual trust, support and respect,” a member commented.

Under Fitzgerald’s leadership, the district received a grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to help pay to replace the windows at Watertown Middle School, and has submitted a grant proposal to replace the high school. In addition, the district received an increase of nearly 7 percent in its allocation from the town.

“We are extremely lucky to have Dr. Fitzgerald’s leadership and that of her staff. I am confident in saying that we would not be doing as well were we under different leadership,” a School Committee member said.

She has also developed good communications with parents in the district, including holding Superintendent Coffees where parents and come speak with her. One member suggested that Fitzgerald hold a coffee in the evening, instead of at 9 a.m., so more parents can participate.

One School Committee member said communications was an area where Fitzgerald could look to improve.

“This includes communication within the School Committee, with School Committee and administration, and with the School Committee/district and the community. Part of this is the responsibility of the School Committee, but part of this includes the superintendent.”

The district developed a new teacher evaluation system, based on the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines. This has been a contentious process in other districts, but not in Watertown.

“It is truly exemplary that the district has maintained a collaborative and respectful relationship with the Dream Team, which includes members of the WEA (teachers union) and the administration,” a School Committee member wrote.

She also got good marks for on her efforts to improve the STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – program in town schools, and creating a plan to get an elementary world language program up and running.

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