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.
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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.