The state process involving school districts developing new teacher evaluation plans is more fluid than it originally appeared, based on extensive discussion on Monday, February 4, among State Department of Education officials, union leaders, school superintendents, principals, and other stakeholders.
The discussion took place at the state Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), which reconvened on February 4 after a seven-month hiatus. CEA President Sheila Cohen characterized the PEAC discussion and consensus action as major steps “to give teachers a meaningful voice in developing local evaluation systems.” CEA has been unequivocal in its insistence that teachers embrace accountability when everyone has a role.
At its February 6 meeting, the State Board of Education responded to the PEAC consensus action adopting the following approach for statewide rollout of the educator evaluation and support system in the 2013-2014 school year:
1. The existing and continuing assumption is inclusion of the whole model (i.e. all Teacher and Administrator Evaluation Components as defined in the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation), and full implementation, district-wide in every district.
2. A preferred alternative* approach is whole model, at least one-third of schools, and all certified staff within those schools.
3. Additional alternatives* are possible. For example, whole model and classroom teachers and administrators within 50 percent of schools.
* If a district decides on submitting an alternative approach, the district must conduct a “committee process,” which shall include representatives of local bargaining unit(s) and superintendent representatives. Any alternative must involve whole model and represent a minimum of one-third of the district’s certified staff, including administrators.
4. At the end of the “committee process,” if the committee does not arrive at a recommendation regarding an alternative model, the district may seek consultation from the CSDE to assist in reaching an agreement. If a conclusion is not reached at that point, the superintendent may submit a plan to the local board of education for recommendation to the CSDE so long as documentation is provided to the CSDE, offering evidence of the committee process undertaken. The CSDE will then consider the plan for approval.
5. Superintendents, on behalf of their board of education, must indicate their decision regarding approach to implementation (existing assumption or alternative) by the April 15, 2013, proposal deadline for review and approval by the CSDE.
Cohen said, “We think there’s a real opportunity for districts that have already submitted a draft plan to the SDE to continue revising it with the direct involvement of teachers before the April 15 deadline.”
According to Sarah Barzee, the interim Chief Talent Officer at the SDE, there is not a single evaluation model that districts must follow since that would discourage innovation. Observation models that districts elect to use must be linked to the Connecticut Common Core of Teaching (CCT) and have a research base. For example, she said the selection of an observation protocol is one area in which districts have flexibility.
UConn interim report gets airing before PEAC
A Neag School of Education interim report of a study of the statewide pilot of new teacher evaluation guidelines has found significant challenges that state education officials pledge to fix.
According to Neag Researcher Morgaen Donaldson, there’s been less training for teachers than for administrators about what is expected of them in areas such as identifying Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and addressing what makes these SLOs sufficient. Donaldson added that the situation has led to “classroom teachers in the pilot schools coming to very different understandings of what is expected of them” under the new state evaluation guidelines—a system scheduled to be mandated for all educators next year.
For details on the Neag interim recommendations visit www.connecticutseed.org.
Post updated February 6, 2013.