Today the State Board of Education unanimously approved new educator evaluation guidelines that focus on growth rather than compliance, reducing the burden on teachers so they can focus on their students instead of paperwork.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the role CEA has had in shaping these new guidelines,” said CEA Vice President Joslyn DeLancey. She and CEA Teacher Development Specialist Dr. Kate Field served on the state’s Educator Evaluation and Support (EES) Council that worked to develop the guidelines.
“We worked with other education stakeholders for over two years learning, reflecting, collaborating, planning, and eventually redesigning our state’s teacher evaluation guidelines. We did not always see eye-to-eye with everyone on the council, but the process of coming to agreement with administrators’ organizations, the group representing boards of education, and others, while lengthening the process, ultimately ensured buy-in from all groups, strengthening the new guidelines,” said DeLancey.
The new evaluation guidelines do away with ratings for teachers, which DeLancey points out do nothing to help educators learn and grow.
Field says the previous guidelines were convoluted and lead to unnecessary distrust between educators and their evaluators, making the new guidelines a big improvement on many fronts. “The leader evaluation plan and the teacher evaluation plan are aligned, so their expectations are similar, and that will go a long way to fostering a trust that is truly necessary for transforming teaching,” she said.
The new guidelines also give districts a high level of flexibility to design evaluation systems that work best for them, while ensuring teachers have a voice in their evaluation and professional development by maintaining the role of the professional development and evaluation committee and the collective bargaining unit, Field and DeLancey say.
“These guidelines respect differences between districts, individuals, roles, and careers,” said AFT Connecticut Vice President Mary Yordan, who also served on the council. “The guidelines respect the limited time available during the busy school day, and limit paperwork.”
Implementation of the new guidelines will not begin until the 2024-25 school year. Districts have a year to create a new plan aligned with the guidelines, and in the meantime they can keep using the same plan they’re using this year or choose to adopt the state’s teacher evaluation flexibilities.
CEA will be providing training on the new guidelines and offering support for professional development and evaluation committees. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to CEA’s Kate Field.
“I want to thank all the members who have supported our work to create a better educator evaluation system in Connecticut,” DeLancey says. “I also want to thank all of our partners on the EES Council, staff at the State Department of Education, and legislators who voted in legislation this session that makes these new educator evaluation guidelines possible.”