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West Fargo School Board holds fall retreat

The West Fargo School Board and administrators held their annual fall retreat on Thursday, July 30, at the Leidal Education Center, with breakfast and lunch catered in from area businesses for the full day of meetings. The board and administrative staff used the day to assess what direction the district should take as they continue their quest to meet their Goal 2011, and as they gear up for a second bond referendum, possibly as early as October 6.

Some of the topics addressed throughout the day included a continued discussion on the upcoming bond referendum and how to meet space needs throughout the district, improving the superintendent evaluation process, and ways to improve communication.

The board members reviewed the role of the school board and analyzed ways they could become more effective as a governing board. Board president Tom Genzkow reminded board members that it is not the board's intent to micromanage. Several of the board members felt that it would be helpful if they were provided more background information before board meetings on issues the board is asked to take action on.

The board reviewed the superintendent's evaluation process. It was a concensus of the group that more time between the formative and summative phases of the annual evaluation for the superintendent would be helpful. Last year the formative evaluation, which gives the superintendent a chance to give input on areas of overall performance, leadership skills, and goals was conducted in December. The formal summative evaluation, when board members reviewed the superintendent's performance and announced the final results, was conducted in March. It was suggested that starting the process in September or October would give more time for a more thorough and accurate assessment.

District leaders also looked at the feasibility of adding job descriptions and annual evaluations for co-curricular positions. Job descriptions would help define positions more clearly and give coaches and advisors more direction. The district does not issue contracts for co-curricular jobs at this time.

The district conducts two annual retreats to help assess the district's programs, one in the fall before school begins, and one at mid-term.