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teacher observation

State legislation, local culture, industry thought leaders and other factors influence the approach a school district takes in defining evaluation frameworks for teachers, leaders and staff. These variables give rise to an ever-changing set of policies, standards and evaluation rubrics that add to the complexity of educator effectiveness programs.

At Fremont County School District 6 in Pavillion, Wyo., the diverse population, including a large number of Native American students, poses occasional communication challenges. “Some of these students have cultural and language barriers,” says Diana Clapp, superintendent. “Instructionally, that presents issues in delivering the best education possible to each student.”

Over the past two years in the Medway (Mass.) Public Schools, teacher evaluation entered a new era, spurred by state and Race to the Top requirements. For the past 15 years, the district used a traditional system of teacher evaluation, including classroom observations, followed by a summative review, notes Medway Superintendent Judy Evans. Administrator walkthroughs, which took less time than formal observations and provided a snapshot of teacher performance, took place only intermittently and did not include all classrooms.

On July 30, The New Teacher Project (TNTP), a nonprofit dedicated to closing the achievement gap, released a study that, according to David Keeling, vice president of communications, tells a story of systemic neglect for our nation’s best teachers.

There was a time when it seemed a day didn’t go by without reading about Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Rhee, known for her passion for raising student achievement—and for her aggressive style—became a symbol for the new school reform movement.

With one year under its belt, Hillsborough County (Fla.) Public Schools embarks on its second school year of collecting data to evaluate teacher effectiveness. The two-year project, currently underway in five other districts nationwide, began in fall 2009 with a Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The data collection strategies include digital video recording, student assessments, student surveys, and teacher surveys.

Realization: The Change Imperative for Deepening District-Wide Reform

 

Corwin Press, $22.95

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