EASTHAMPTON — In a brief but productive meeting on May 28, the Easthampton School Committee began the process of the summative evaluation of interim Superintendent Maureen Binienda.

Binienda explained that, at the beginning of the year, she had chosen a couple of indicators per area of evaluation to focus on for this year. Her goals included a student learning goal focused on instruction and curriculum and a professional development goal focused on culturally responsive and collaborative practices, such as working to build relationships with the students, parents and staff. Binienda noted that one of her favorite parts of this goal had been working backstage at the Easthampton High School play — something she had never done before but enjoyed quite a bit.

Binienda also spoke to her work on district goals, such as the effective and timely supervision of all staff. She explained that she’d observed classes across the district. Because of that, Binienda noted that she would like to bring forward a requirement for teachers to have lesson plans to show their observers as Binienda explained that it can be difficult to walk into a lesson without knowing the objective of the lesson. She hopes to bring that idea to negotiations with the teacher’s union.

“It’s an important component,” Binienda said.

Another of the district’s goals included the creation of an appropriate budget. Binienda said she had worked with many people to ensure a solid budget for the district.

After Binienda’s brief presentation, during which she shared that state evaluation forms and discussed some of her evidence, the committee planned to finalize the evaluation at its next meeting on June 11. Each committee member will work on their comments and ratings and send them to Chair Laura Scott, who will compile them to be presented at the next meeting.

Binienda also reviewed the many exciting events happening at the schools as they wrap up the school year on June 20. The students will enjoy the last few weeks from field trips and field days to dances and cruises. Easthampton High School will have graduation on June 7 after a graduation walk through Mountain View School that morning.

The committee also voted to move forward with resurrecting the French exchange program. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the program allowed for Easthampton High School students to visit and stay with host families in France for about 10 days around April vacation. Easthampton families would also host French students at some point during the year. Teacher Gerard Benoit said that he doesn’t know exactly what the program will look like, but it will probably serve 10-12 students and included a two-week stay in France. The vote allowed him to look into more specifics of the program.

Tina Lesniak
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