Evaluation of directors of kindergartens: the opportunity to get support
Right now the pre-schools director evaluation takes place. State Education Quality Service’s director Inita Juhņēviča poses this process as an opportunity to receive support, not criticism.
Pre-schools director leads and is responsible for everything happening in the pre-school, that’s why when evaluating directors, another thing evaluated is the quality of education in the pre-school. While this process of evaluation is happening, it is important for the Sate Education Quality Service to see these directors as leaders. Inita Juhņēviča believes that it is also important to support these directors, that regularly develop their profession competency, strategically plan the work of their pre-school and unite their employees for united development. The main task of this evaluation is to highlight the strong sides of any director as well as the things, that can be improved. And with that offer suggestions, to better the work in leading a pre-school.
In every criteria, the director’s professional work is evaluated with one of these “marks”:
excellent (the work exceeds expectations in every level during the whole process of evaluation),
very good (the work exceeds expectations in a few levels or aspects of criteria),
good (the work is exactly as it should be based on the criteria),
needs improvement (the work is not up to the standards in a few spheres),
dissatisfying (the work is not up to the standards in most spheres).
Based on this evaluation, State Education Quality Service decides whether or not the director is suitable for his or her job.
“I want to highlight, that a positive evaluation raises director’s confidence, motivation and reassures them that they have made good decisions. Moreover, pre-school directors don’t have to prepare for these evaluations – they just have to do their day to day job, while leading their employees to development,” explains I. Juhņēviča.
Criteria of evaluation of pre-school directors
Evaluation of pre-school’s director takes place in many stages. At first the evaluation is done by the founder of the pre-school. That means that the founder outlines goals, that the director has to reach, but the director himself or herself evaluates their performance in regard to reaching these goals. After that the same evaluation is done by the founder and a discussion about it takes place.
The main criteria of this evaluation is the same as the criteria that directors of middle schools and high schools are evaluated by. A board of experts go to the pre-school, evaluate and analyze the director’s performance in reaching their goals and fulfilling their tasks, their qualifications and competency, they compare their conclusions to the descriptions of “marks”. While deciding on a “mark”, the board of experts take in account the previous State Education Quality Service’s, pre-school founder’s or other competent institution’s conclusions about the work of the director.
To get an objective, full information, experts use many different methods – interviews, surveys, documents, self evaluation, previous work experience and analyzation of other materials.
Criteria of evaluation of the professional work of the director: the fulfillment of goals and tasks, the fulfillment of the position, education, professional experience, professional knowledge and skills, general knowledge and skills, competency “Creating and maintaing relationships”, competency “Motivation and development of employees”, competency “Leading a team”, competency “Understanding the value of organization”, competency “Orientation on development”, competency “Orientation on reaching goals”, competency “Leading change”, competency “The ability to make decisions and take responsibility”, competency “Strategic view”, competency “The pre-school’s management of material – technical resources”. (The pre-schools together with their founder choose five competencies, which they are evaluated on)
Self evaluation – the possibility to understand, what has been done
Self evaluation is a never ending process, which as its goal has the ability to evaluate the reached level, understand the strong sides of the pre-school, while also seeing the parts, that need improvement. That is why self evaluation shouldn’t be done only for the sake of a board of experts or State Education Quality Service. That’s why it should never be written from the standpoint of “what would the board of experts want to hear?”. In the self evaluation future fields of improvement and the strategy and plan for that improvement should be stated. It is important that in the self evaluation the director involved all sides – teachers, employees, parents – so that everyone can look at the pre-school objectively, and show the uniqueness of it, while thinking about everything, that has been done and outlining any future goals.
The document of self evaluation doesn’t not have to be long, but it has to be qualitative. Once a year it has to be re-actualized and put on the pre-schools or its founders website. That again shows how it doesn’t have to be written only because of the evaluation of the director.
Pre—schools are afraid of evaluations and boards of experts…
Possibly, these fears are based on the presumption that these experts are there to evaluate and every recommendation or advice is a criticism. I. Juhņēviča once again highlights, that the main task of this evaluation is to objectively loo offer the work of a director and give the needed support, in order to develop the work. The main task of any pre-school is to provide qualitative education to children, and because of it they have to regularly look back at their work (self evaluation) and be happy for any outside input and observation (the board of experts). That’s why pre-schools shouldn’t aim to have the perfect score and no suggestions. What’s important is the correct evaluation of the given situation, so that the pre-school can feel proud of the spheres they exceed in, and see, what they need to improve, so that children can go to pre-school happy, they can receive a good education and feel good, when they are there. The arrival of experts should be seen as a good exchange of experiences, and no one should feel shy or ashamed of asking any advice or suggestions on how to improve.