New im­prove­ments

Teach­ers, ed­u­ca­tors tied to stu­dent growth

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - KAYLA ROBINS krobins@cov­news.com

Stu­dents will see prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals walk­ing through class­rooms more this school year as they com­plete re­quire­ments for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of new teacher eval­u­a­tions.

The Teacher Keys Ef­fec­tive­ness Sys­tem (TKES) and Leader Keys Ef­fec­tive­ness Sys­tem is in its sec­ond year in the New­ton County School Sys­tem (NCSS), with this year be­ing the first to in­clude stu­dent growth per­centiles as a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in teacher eval­u­a­tions.

The Ge­or­gia Stu­dent Growth Model, which was re­leased in July, is a tool that al­lows par­ents, teach­ers and the pub­lic to see in­di­vid­ual stu­dents’ growth from year to year com­pared to other aca­dem­i­cally sim­i­lar stu­dents across the state.

TKES is a sys­tem of mul­ti­ple mea­sures that pro­vide a stronger as­sess­ment of teacher ef­fec­tive­ness than each of the mea­sures alone and than ex­ist­ing mea­sures, ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“It’s a great method­ol­ogy to help peo­ple im­prove,” said NCSS Su­per­in­ten­dent Sa­man­tha Fuhrey. “It’s about di­a­logue.”

One ma­jor mea­sure is the Teacher As­sess­ment on Per­for­mance Stan­dards (TAPS), which re­quires class­room ob­ser­va­tions by prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals and doc­u­men­ta­tion of teach­ers’ prac­tices to demon­strate pro­fi­ciency.

Teach­ers have to ad­here to 10 stan­dards, which ad­dress in­struc­tional strate­gies, as­sess­ments and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Fuhrey said this as­pect of teacher eval­u­a­tions will take more time than in past years be­cause of the amount of as­so­ci­ated pa­per­work and time spent vis­it­ing each class­room – two for­mal ob­ser­va­tions and four walk­throughs of each teacher. But, she said, it has prom­ise to be ef­fec­tive.

This com­po­nent of TKES pro­vides a “qual­i­ta­tive, rubrics-based eval­u­a­tion

“It’s set­ting the stage to help them im­prove and give them sup­port re­sources. It will pro­vide a di­a­logue that’s dif­fer­ent than be­fore.” —Sa­man­tha Fuhrey, NCSS Su­per­in­ten­dent

method” to mea­sure teacher per­for­mance.

Teach­ers must also at­tend an ori­en­ta­tion ev­ery year and in­put doc­u­men­ta­tion on stan­dards and pro­fi­ciency into an elec­tronic plat­form that in­ter­prets ad­her­ence to the stan­dards. Prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals eval­u­ate teach­ers, and lead­ers eval­u­ate prin­ci­pals and as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals.

How­ever, stan­dards are only worth half of a teacher’s eval­u­a­tion. The sec­ond 50 per­cent is based on stu­dent growth, which has been quan­ti­fied in CRCT and EOCT re­sults that have been re­leased through­out the summer.

Fuhrey said this has been con­cern­ing to teach­ers, who may not nec­es­sar­ily like the fact that stu­dents’ test­ing scores di­rectly and largely af­fect their eval­u­a­tion. But many re­sults have shown im­prove­ments in this year over 2013, and she said the district is work­ing hard to con­tinue those im­prove­ments.

With the old eval­u­a­tion process, stu­dent growth was used as an ad­den­dum. So it was al­ways part of the equa­tion but more in­di­rectly com­pa­ra­ble.

This new sys­tem should pro­vide richer in­for­ma­tion, Fuhrey said, but the process will be more time con­sum­ing. Ad­min­is­tra­tors will be spend­ing more time in the class­room to ob­serve teach­ers, at­tend­ing con­fer­ences and will be more di­rectly in­volved in the day-to-day class­room.

For teach­ers who do not have a state stan­dard­ized as­sess­ment, a stu­dent learn­ing ob­jec­tive (SLO) will be used as this com­po­nent, which com­pares pre- and post-course scores.

Teach­ers will not be fired at the first glim­mer of lack of im­prove­ment in stu­dents, Fuhrey as­sured. In the case of un­der­per­for­mance, the district in­tends to spur bet­ter eval­u­a­tions through sup­port and pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment, cre­at­ing a plan with each teacher to help him or her ac­com­plish a goal.

“The more help you pro­vide to will­ing par­tic­i­pants,” Fuhrey said, “the more good they can do.”

Con­tin­ued un­der­per­for­mance can, how­ever, af­fect a teacher’s con­tract at the district level and cer­tifi­cate at the state level.

Ac­cord­ing to HB 244, a teacher who re­ceives “any com­bi­na­tion of two un­sat­is­fac­tory, in­ef­fec­tive or needs devel­op­ment an­nual sum­ma­tive per­for­mance eval­u­a­tions in the pre­vi­ous five-year pe­riod” can­not re­new his or her cer­tifi­cate be­fore cor­rect­ing neg­a­tive as­pects in the eval­u­a­tion.

One sys­tem NCSS plans to use to help cut down on pa­per­work is that teach­ers can choose to use video footage of their class­room in­struc­tion to sub­sti­tute for one for­mal ob­ser­va­tion. The district al­ready has cam­era sys­tems in place in mid­dle and high schools, so this is at no ad­di­tional cost and al­lows teach­ers to self-cor­rect their in­struc­tion.

“It’s set­ting the stage to help them im­prove and give them sup­port re­sources,” Fuhrey said. “It will pro­vide a di­a­logue that’s dif­fer­ent than be­fore.”

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