WATERLOO — Waterloo Community Schools is on an upward trend.
The district is seeing growth on the state’s student performance standards, its graduation rate and at the 3-year-old Waterloo Career Center. And the Board of Education is looking to Superintendent Jane Lindaman as the person who helped lead the district to this point.
Such good news “contributed to, I think, the most positive review she’s had,” said board president Shanlee McNally.
Lindaman, who is finishing her fifth year as superintendent, has generally received good reviews. But the board’s seven members were even more pleased with what they heard during Tuesday’s annual closed-door year-end evaluation, according to McNally. They met with Lindaman for 3-1/2 hours.
“We had an excellent meeting with Jane,” she said. “The board unanimously agreed to extend her contract for another year.”
No action was taken on the contract following the closed session.
McNally pointed to the 84.24% four-year graduation rate for the class of 2018 – the highest ever for Waterloo Schools, as one of the positive developments. It’s been trending upwards since 2015, when it exceeded 80% and hit an all-time high. A record percentage of students graduated in 2017, as well.
Another plus is the exponential enrollment growth at the career center as it adds five new programs next fall for a total of 14. During the year that just ended, the center had 515 enrollments and is expected to grow well past 1,000 during the next year. In addition, students have completed over 600 certifications that advance their technical skills and close to 20 businesses or other organizations have signed on as partners.
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“I think that shows the schools are doing good work in tandem with the community,” said McNally.
She also highlighted updates to the Iowa School Performance Profiles in May that showed more progress for the district. Many of its 18 schools have moved up in the state’s six ratings, ranging from priority to exceptional.
“For the first time ever, we had three of our schools that were in the high-performing category,” said McNally, one down from exceptional. Four schools have moved into the commendable category, including both East and West high schools. However, she noted, “we have a couple schools that are still priority,” the lowest category.
As required by the state, board members evaluated Lindaman using the Iowa Standards for School Leaders, of which McNally said the majority were “exceedingly positive.” The six standards attempt to measure an administrator’s shared learning vision, culture of learning, management, family and community relationships, ethics, and ability to work in the societal context.
There was also review and discussion of the district’s strategic plan and the board’s priorities for the next year.
Lindaman’s actual salary for 2019-20 will be decided later, when the board approves an extension of her three-year contract. “We’ll finalize her salary hopefully (in) July, early August,” said McNally.
The board looks at a list of 42 metrics related to various aspects of leading the district and student achievement in setting her salary every year.
“She is the only superintendent in the state that is paid this way,” said McNally. “It’s geared for her to get somewhere between 40% and 50% (of the objectives) and then there are stretch goals.”