Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How are teachers evaluated at JWP?

Recently I wrote a blog post about how principals are evaluated at JWP.  This post will be dedicated to discussing how JWP teachers are evaluated.  I will attempt to cover all bases and follow up should I miss any steps.

At the beginning of the school year each building principal meets with their teachers on an individual basis.  During this preliminary meeting, teachers set SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound).  These SMART Goals become the focus of their professional improvement during the school year.

Throughout the school year teachers collect evidence that supports their development in achieving their SMART Goal.  Evidence may include the following artifacts:

·      Dashboards
·      Data folders
·      Projects
·      Portfolios
·      Rubrics
·      State standardized test results
·      Literacy tests
·      MAPs tests
·      Power standards
·      Math tests
·      Presidential fitness test
·      Classroom climate
·      Student data logs
·      Surveys

As teachers collect evidence, they are asked to place it into their learning logs.  The learning logs are documents that are ongoing journals of communication between the principals and teachers.  These logs are meant as two way communication between the principals and teachers as walkthroughs and observations take place.

An important component of our evaluation system is the observation.  All observations are unannounced.  Meaning, our principals simply show up to observe instruction.  After an observation, teachers schedule a meeting with their principal to discuss the overall observation.  During those discussions, areas of improvement and strength are highlighted.  New teachers (two years of experience and under) receive three observations annually while those with three or more years of experience receive one observation annually.

We look at the following during an observation:

Professional Responsibilities
The teacher demonstrates high ethical standards and a genuine sense of professionalism by:
·       Engaging in reflection on instruction
·       Maintaining accurate records
·       Communicating frequently with families
·       Engaging in professional development
·       Participating in a professional community
·       Aligning with building and district priorities
·       Demonstrating professional relationships
·       Understanding the 21st Century Learner
·       Aligning personal practices with building and district practices and values
·       Valuing the spirit of feedback, both giving and receiving for the individual and collective growth

Planning and Organization
The teacher demonstrates excellent planning and organization for student success by:
·       Creating plans that reflect solid understanding of the content, the students, and available resources
·       Writing instructional outcomes that represent focused learning suitable to most students
·       Aligning planning and preparation with formative assessment practices
·       Designing short and long-range instructional plans based on Essential Learning Targets and Success Criteria
·       Developing and utilizing a variety of assessments
·       Using assessment data as a basis for instruction
·       Ensuring that instruction is consistent with school district priorities
·       Planning for time for self reflection

The teacher demonstrates command of instruction by:
·       Possessing a solid understanding of content that can be expressed in many different ways
·       Utilizing content knowledge to ensure student learning
·       Instructing based on RtI and formative assessment practices
·       Engaging students in learning as a result of students having clarity of target
·       Successful use of questioning and discussion techniques
·       Implementing activities and assignments that are of high quality and clearly connected to the target
·       Creating a classroom where teacher and students make productive use of assessments
·       Responding to classroom formative assessment by modifying instruction based on students’ understanding and performance
·       Providing effective feedback that elicits improvement in student performance
·       Utilizing technology to empower students

Classroom Environment
The teacher demonstrates management of an excellent classroom environment by:
·       Valuing students as individuals with unique strengths and needs
·       Creating a classroom environment that functions smoothly, with little or no lost of instructional time
·       Having high expectations for student learning
·       Ensuring that interactions among individuals are respectful
·       Maintaining expectations for student conduct that are clear, such that the physical environment supports learning
·       Establishing a culture of learning that provides a safe environment for risk taking
·       Applying sound disciplinary practices in the classroom

At the end of the school year the teacher and principal have a closing conversation to determine which track each teacher will be assigned.  The substance of this meeting is a conversation focused on the learning log, evidence of reaching SMART goals, and student achievement data.  Based on this conversation, teachers will fall into either the Growth Track or the Intensive Track.

The Growth Track simply designates that a teacher has reached their SMART goal, students have grown academically, and observations of the teacher were successful.  The Intensive Track designates that a teacher has not reached their SMART goal, students have not grown academically and/or areas of improvement were identified during instructional observations.  In the Growth Track, teachers will set new goals to develop their practice.  In the Intensive Track, teachers develop an improvement plan that is closely monitored the following year.  Ultimately, if improvement is not realized in the Improvement Track phase, the potential of being released from employment is present.

In summary, the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District has an effective evaluation process in place for teacher development.  Our process was developed over the last two years with a variety of stakeholders.  This will be the first year that full implementation of this process will be realized.  Should you ever want to discuss this process, please contact me directly.

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