Supt. receives high marks on 2-year evaluationBy Mike Berger
School Committee Chairman John Bonnanzio gave a glowing evaluation of Superintendent Jeff Granatino and offered to extend his contract after reading a summary of committee members’ opinions of the superintendent’s performance during his first two years in Canton.
“This is a superior evaluation, especially for a new superintendent who has been here for just two years,” said Bonnanzio. “I for one would like to extend your contract to keep you here.”
The state Department of Education has a new process for evaluating school superintendents, and Bonnanzio apologized to Granatino for delaying his review the past year.
Granatino received very positive remarks in several categories, including leadership, management of human resources, professional development, relationship with school committee members, community and public relations, financial management, operations management, and personal qualities and skills.
Committee member Liz Salisbury also polled several members of the central office staff, including School Business Manager Ken Leon, Curriculum & Instruction Director Jen Henderson, and Student Services Director Debra Bromfield, and they all gave Granatino high marks. In summary, Salisbury said Granatino is a very good listener, wants to understand all perspectives, is well-liked, has a good working relationship with the Canton Teachers Association, and is building a vision for the future.
The one area that committee members felt Granatino needed to improve on was articulating his vision of education to the community. The evaluation noted that Granatino came in two years ago with a school administration in flux, including several interim principals, and a budget that had endured several cuts to staff and programs. The committee gave Granatino high marks for reshaping his management team and for developing next year’s budget, which restores some of the recent cuts.
Granatino said he appreciated the feedback and gave a lot of the credit to his staff, adding that he is eager to improve and that his performance is a “work in progress.”
In other news Thursday night, Nurse Leader Janet Donnelly informed the committee that the state legislature and the Department of Public Health are shifting the decision-making to local school boards when it comes to nutrition standards for school fundraisers.
Originally, the DPH was to issue new nutrition regulations on August 1, but political pressure from Governor Deval Patrick and the state legislature caused the department to back off from the ban on school bake sales and other snacks offered 30 minutes before and after school.
Last week the legislature approved amendments that allow schools to make their own decisions. As it stands now, the state nutrition bill will affect what snacks and sweets are sold in cafeterias during the day.
Reacting to the news, Bonnanzio said that while he understands that the state is concerned about rising obesity rates and other medical issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure, he feels that the government should stay out of the decision-making on what a child should eat.
“That is my decision and is an abuse of what the government should do,” he said. “Lunchtime is my time to decide what my child should eat. I feel compelled to say, ‘Mind your own business.’ This is way too much.”
Donnelly said the state does want each community to name a wellness advisory committee to help shape a formal wellness policy. The committee should represent a cross-section of the community, including a member of the School Committee, a school administrator, community members and students.
Donnelly also reported that the average Body Mass Index (BMI) of Canton students is 32 percent, just slightly above the national average of 30 percent. The results were compiled from students tested in grades 1, 4, 7, and 10.
In other wellness news, interim wellness director Katey Swenson has been named the permanent physical education/wellness director, drawing praise from Granatino on her performance as an administrator and a teacher in both areas.
Also on Thursday, executives from the Old Colony Y gave an update on their recent collaboration with the Canton Public Schools. COO Jeff Russell and Joyce Dwyer, senior executive director of the Striar Y in Stoughton, said how much they appreciated working with the Canton staff members.
Members of the Old Colony staff have helped develop and staff the Scott Herr Memorial Fitness Center at CHS, offering offseason conditioning programs to several sports teams, as well as programs for eighth graders and a new fitness class for Hansen teachers after school.
Working with Granatino, the Y will offer a sexual abuse prevention program to staff on June 13 and a CPR program to all CHS coaches in mid August.
Russell said the Y offers more than just fitness and exercise and is starting an academic enrichment program as part of a new summer camp at Massasoit Community College. The Y is also awarding 20 scholarships to low-income students through its Achievement Gap Program.
Russell and Dwyer said the Y is looking to expand its program in Canton, both for athletes and the general student body, with after-school enrichment, ropes courses, field days, and mentoring.
In other news, April Goran, the school system’s technology integration administrator, updated the committee on her plan for the district and said that she does need more staff, especially for the lower grades. Goran is developing a plan for each grade in an effort to provide students with a working knowledge of essential technological skills.
“By the time they graduate, they should have the technological skills to go into the work world,” she said.
Committee members praised Goran for her work on the Canton Public Schools’ new website and for developing an organized technological plan for the system. She has formed an advisory committee consisting of a representative from each school.
The final day of school is Tuesday, June 19, and in a break from tradition, the CHS graduation will take place on Friday, June 8, at Memorial Field. (Previous graduations were held on a Thursday in front of the Rodman building.) In the event of bad weather, graduation will be held inside the CHS gymnasium, and each senior will receive six tickets for family members and friends, with additional spectators invited to watch the ceremony on a large screen in the auditorium.
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