Dawn Benaitis is D181's Director of Learning (Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction).
What is most concerning about the fact Ms Benaitis was promoted despite Monroe School's poor MAP results, is that she is now officially responsible for analyzing test results for the entire district. Monroe is the largest school in the district, and barely 50% of the students are achieving the growth targets on the MAP test. In fact, just 40% of third graders met the growth targets in reading for the 2012-2013 MAP test. This is in addition to the last year's poor MAP math test results for last year's third graders. We wonder: will Ms Benaitis have the knowledge base to monitor and assess the current fourth grade performance district wide, not to mention all the other grades?
With the implementation of the Common Core curriculum this year, along with one additional year of math acceleration in all grades, it will be challenging for Ms Benaitis to consistently monitor, evaluate, analyze, and interpret test results, and determine
the effectiveness of the sweeping changes that have been implemented across the district. Even a seasoned, experienced, highly trained Assessment Director would be greatly challenged, let alone a former principal who has never been responsible for district-wide data interpretation. In fact, most Assessment Directors have backgrounds and formal academic training and education in test measurement and statistics, which are the foundation for this position within a school district. D181 had a qualified administrator in charge of assessment, Dr. Bonnie Strykowski, who held the position for 3 years until budget cuts were made and the position was eliminated. So we now have this question: how will a former principal, who had only 40% of third grade students meeting growth targets in her building, be able to analyze student performance district wide? How was this allowed to happen in her school? Wasn't Benaitis overseeing and reviewing the performance of the students throughout the school year?
For the sake of our children, we hope Ms Benaitis has miraculously developed the necessary skills to fulfill the requirements of her position so she can effectively review and evaluate the student performance of the district, which currently is average at best, based on overall MAP test results. As noted on her resume, Ms Benaitis is currently enrolled in an EdD program -- Doctorate of Education -- in the area of Leadership, which is being paid for with D181 taxpayer dollars. (Click to open Personnel Consent Agenda at which her tuition reimbursement contract was approved by the Board of Education.) Why are D181 taxpayers continuing to pay for the education of administrators in training rather than hiring experts or proven administrators in the specific content area of the job vacancy? Yet another example of D181 being a starter district for administrators, instead of seeking to find the most highly credentialed and qualified.