What if I said that I look forward to the yearly professional SMART goal setting or review?
Each year the administrator assigned to my educator evaluation sends me a “welcome” email to begin the evaluation process. Depending on if I am in the middle of or starting a new evaluation cycle, along with the administrator, I review either possible SMART goals or adjustments to those already set. Ultimately, my personal goal is to challenge myself professionally. Professionally, I want to use the agreed-upon goals to guide my work further supporting students and educators at my school.
Yet, at the same time, I am looking forward to SMART goal setting or review, I realize there is a continually added responsibility that must be considered. In addition to setting or reviewing SMART goals with my administrative evaluator, I also have to enlighten him or her on the mysterious world of school librarianship. Having completed the evaluation process a few times, I have experienced evaluators assuming the various roles of the school librarian rather than gaining a true understanding for the profession. The result is an evaluation based on my reputation instead of something I can use to improve my practice.
In all fairness, the field of education has seemed to not have enough time to thoroughly complete all of the necessary functions districts require. As a result, administrators have to select where they are most effective. Recognizing the need for my administrative evaluator to understand the various roles of the school librarian, I consider the process an knowledge-building opportunity. By shaping the conversation and contributing guidance, I am building my evaluator’s knowledge of the school librarian and library. I also hope to build administration appreciation, while demystifying and adjusting assumptions about the role of the school librarian and the school library.
For me, the strategy for informing my administrative evaluator on the role of the school librarians begins with sharing the State of Massachusetts Educator Evaluation rubric and the Implementation Support for School Librarians (MSLA). Other states have similar types of pairing that combine state evaluation rubric/indicators with those offered by school library professional organizations. When combined, these documents are powerful tools. The documents allow the evaluating administrator to grasp indicators of school librarian performance. Rather than administrators relying on past knowledge of state educator evaluation indicators, the documents serve as a guide to discuss actual school librarian SMART goals, performance, management, and supports, as well as potential artifacts and evidence.
Getting real with SMART goal setting and review also requires I complete a self-evaluation. Using the performance indicators from both state and association resources, I have to be honest about my performance as the school’s librarian. Sharing the self-evaluation with my administrative evaluator is another opportunity to describe the various roles of the school librarian. Detailing responsibilities, explaining the curriculum, practices, programming, and supports, as well as presenting past artifacts and evidence, can only add to the administrator’s understanding of the school library.
Looking at SMART goal setting or review as an opportunity for developing school library understandings within the school’s administration can be powerful. Developing my administrative evaluator’s understandings for the role of the school librarian means, together, we can create a common value for the school that is reflected in the SMART goals. By taking advantage of the opportunity I can only hope my administrative evaluator not only continues to support my role as the school librarian but also brings the understandings to wherever his or her career takes them.
Author: Georgina Trebbe
Georgina Trebbe, Ed.D. is the school librarian at Minnechaug Regional High School in Massachusetts. She is also an adjunct instructor for Simmons University’s SLT program. Georgina’s interests include information literacy, collaboration, and school librarians as researchers.