In Chula Vista, educators replaced an evaluation system that had little relevance to principals' leadership performance with peer group evaluations.
In the fall of 1993, as the new superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District, I conducted an individual assessment of the organization with each of the district's 32 principals. Discussions on strengths and areas needing change immediately surfaced the issue of the principals' evaluation process as a priority concern.
The principals described their process as a "dog-and-pony show" with little or no relevance to their leadership performance and impact on student achievement. Principals believed they were jumping through hoops just to please central office administrators. Some were convinced that the criteria for judging effectiveness included the length and weight of documents provided. A few principals candidly admitted that they fabricated observation data for submission to their supervisors. Recording activities and keeping track of participation in events took on its own special value, since little attempt was made to connect these activities to outcomes.
During the 1993-1994 school year, a principal task force was established to review the literature and to research evaluation models. At the rime, we found a few interesting evaluation processes and instruments (Louisville, Ky.; Seattle and Vancouver, Wash.) and identified various components to incorporate into our own.
We agreed that the primary purpose of an evaluation process is to promote professional growth and personal development. In order to …