TOWN OF BELOIT—The Beloit Turner School Board has offered a favorable review of Superintendent Dennis McCarthy’s performance during the 2020-21 school year, with board leaders giving high marks on the district’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and addressing racial equity.

Summarizing the school board’s feedback on the superintendent evaluation, Board President John Turner said McCarthy continues to demonstrate “forward thinking and dedication to our students, staff and families,” especially amidst COVID-19.

“Dennis provided excellent communication with the Turner families, community and the public as a whole,” Turner wrote. “The board has always been well informed with the state and health department rules regarding the pandemic, working together for the best outcome.”

The Turner district’s administrator evaluation process involves a self-evaluation by McCarthy with input from the board. There are check-ins at the beginning, middle and end of each academic year regarding goals McCarthy has set and how the board members believe those goals are being met.

McCarthy stated that during the pandemic, district administrators routinely sent out email updates to families notifying them of the district’s plans on in-person or virtual learning, while also seeking input from parents and teachers.

“The key to the ongoing efforts is regular communication with families,” McCarthy wrote. “We have had very little negative pushback on our plans, and I truly believe that is due to our overall communication efforts. Many of those are generated by me in consultation with our administrative team and school nurse, but buildings have also done an outstanding job at updating families through their own communication efforts.”

Turner wrote that a major goal for the 2020-21 school year was establishing flexible learning plans in order to help manage risks due to the pandemic.

“The success that our district had in developing successful protocols aligned with local health service providers to focus on safely educating our students both remotely and on site,” Turner wrote. “Dennis has done a terrific job dealing with the unprecedented pandemic, aiming to keep students in person, which is how they learn best. Schools are to be safe, stimulating and enriching places for students while parents or guardians are at work.”

Turner added that McCarthy helped ensure students had access to reliable internet, nutritional meals and other vital resources during virtual learning.

Regarding how to address racial equity in the district, McCarthy wrote that the district is focusing on using restorative practices, conducting research, holding book studies, meeting with other district administrators in the area to discuss diversity, and participating in leadership seminars to discuss issues of race, implicit bias and the history of marginalization.

McCarthy also wrote that the district has been reaching out to community organizations to develop and enhance partnerships and build trust.

In the board’s comments, Turner added that he is pleased with McCarthy’s efforts to address racial achievement gaps and advocate for greater racial equity.

“Dr. McCarthy and his staff are focused on educating the whole student,” Turner wrote. “Our goal is defining the readiness of our students when they graduate in all areas: higher education, careers, and life. Dr. McCarthy’s focus on the students as a whole for success is in alignment with the board’s ideas.”

Additionally, the school board lauded McCarthy’s efforts on strategic planning, such as college and career readiness.