Two Oklahoma school leaders this week described teacher evaluation systems that reward the best teachers, improve good teachers and “exit” those who aren't cut out for the classroom.
The presentations were delivered Wednesday to a commission of education leaders who are tasked with developing the state's new teacher and principal evaluation system.
State law, passed in an effort to win federal dollars to support education reform, mandates the state Education Board adopt a new system by Dec. 15. The commission must recommend an evaluation system that is half quantitative and half qualitative.
Douglass Middle High School Principal Brian Staples said he started the 2010-11 school year with 55 teachers and “exited” all but 15 of them, using an evaluation system that set expectations high and held teachers accountable.
Staples said because students enter his school academically behind, he cannot in good conscience have anything but the best teachers — those who not only can help students learn, but can bring them up to grade level.
“We must have all highly effective teachers. We can't even have average teachers,” Staples said. “Across the country, at our persistently low-performing schools, you are going to see something like this.”
Needed first was a system for supporting the teachers.
Staples said they had incredible on-site professional development available. A federal School Improvement Grant paid for the program.
Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, worked closely with Staples through the process and is also on the commission for selecting an evaluation system.
“We were really disappointed on the number of teachers who flat out said ‘We're not doing it,'” Allen said.
The commission heard three models Wednesday for the qualitative side of the evaluations. Staples used a hybrid of evaluation systems last school year, but for the 2011-12 school year, he said they will be using Marzano's Art and Science of Teaching evaluation model.
Also presented was the Danielson's Framework for Teaching, which is being used by Teresa McAfee, superintendent of the Crutcho School District.
“We want the opportunity for teachers to grow,” McAfee said.
Video cameras are in every teacher's room at Crutcho Elementary School, so teachers can evaluate their successes and their failures, McAfee said. She said it also allows teachers to see what their colleagues are doing that works well.
The third model presented at the meeting was Reeve's Leadership Performance Matrix.
No estimates were available about what each of the evaluation models would cost to implement at every school district across the state.
At later commission meetings, the board will hear about different ways to quantitatively evaluate teachers, in part using student test score results.
AT A GLANCE
Qualitative evaluation models
Danielson's Framework for Teaching
Evaluates teachers based on four teacher responsibilities: planning and preparing; classroom environment; instruction; and professionalism. There are 22 components and 76 more specific elements that an evaluator looks for in teachers. The ratings in each area are the basis of a conversation about places for improvement and a rating of the teacher's overall performance.
Evaluates teachers based on four sets of teacher behaviors and practices that have been shown in studies to correlate directly with student performance. The four practices are weighted in importance with classroom strategies and behaviors accounting for most of a teacher's score, and then in declining importance — planning and preparing, reflecting on teaching, and collegiality and professionalism.
Evaluates principals based on key attributes of good leadership that are linked to effective teaching and student performance. The “dimensions of leadership” are resiliency, personal behavior, student achievement, decision making, communication, faculty development, leadership development, time management, technology and professional development.