DeWitt Public Schools incorporate new teacher evaluation process

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By Tiara Marocco
Staff Writer

DeWitt – DeWitt Public Schools Board of Education has implemented a new educator evaluation process this school year to encourage and improve teacher and student growth.

“Key for Final Effectiveness Rating 2012-2013”
The 4.0 scale for teacher effectiveness
Photo from DeWitt Public Schools website

According to the DeWitt Public Schools website, this evaluation focuses on four major categories, student growth and achievement, pedagogical skills, management of the classroom and professional responsibilities with each out of 25 points.

Teachers are required to do a self-evaluation and in their first to fifth years of teaching, required to create an Individualized Development Plan (IDP) while tenured teachers must complete a Teacher Growth Goal (TGG).  All teachers are required to have an administrator walk through, observe their class and provide feedback.  They are also required to provide a goal reflection at the end of the school year.

Depending on the teachers’ status of first year, probationary year or tenured, they are required to have a formal observation, make a pre-observation and post-observation form and mid-year evaluation.

Creating the change

This evaluation process was changed because of the new law requiring a yearly evaluation.  Potter and administration took this time to not only change the evaluation to be fit for a yearly process but also to improve the way teachers and students progress throughout the school year with this evaluation.

“The whole idea behind this, and actually it’s even written in the state laws,” said David Potter, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, “is to make this a collaborative process when looking at teacher evaluation as opposed to saying ‘here’s the instrument,’ we hand it out and say ‘now, this is what we’re going to do.’  We are really making an effort to improve teacher growth.”

The previous teacher evaluation was adopted in 2003, but with the new law and due to its length and magnitude, it needed to change, Potter said.  The new evaluation took parts from this previous evaluation and implemented them with their new goals.

Teacher effectiveness

“You’ll find in the results that will be released in a couple weeks, across the state, 98 or 99% of all teachers were rated as effective and that’s because of the fear of that drop-off from effective to minimally effective,” said John Deiter, DeWitt Public Schools superintendent.  “And what we’re afraid of is that we may send a false message to teachers if we rate them as effective and there are areas that they need to work on.”

With evaluation process being effective throughout the entire school year, DeWitt is finding a way to constantly and thoroughly improve teachers and students development more than just once a year.

“We think this makes our process a little more valid by offering more specific feedback,” said Deiter.  “We also find some definite areas that they can improve on and I think this way puts it more clearly.  They can receive more feedback from administration, as well.”

Collaboration is key

Teachers are discussing with each other ways that they can improve life in the classroom.

“The biggest change with this year and the evaluation is that we have constant conversations with each other about the evaluations and the process,” said Brian Byars, DeWitt high school science teacher.  “We are able to grow together.”

DeWitt High School
Photo by Google Images

All teachers have the same goal to improve their students each year and with this process, they are able to find the key components to make that happen.

“Each conversation has started to develop around student growth goals,” said Jennifer O’Brien, DeWitt reading intervention and social studies junior high teacher, “where departments are kind of talking together about what would be reasonable.”

“We wanted to make sure that this was a living-breathing process that they kept revisiting throughout the school year,” said Potter.  “We want teachers to have an opportunity to see what administration’s expectations are and engage in dialogue.  They benefit from collaboration with each other.”

Feedback

Teachers want to be able to know what they need to change and how they can change and improve.  With this new evaluation, teachers are able to get quick feedback and their improvement will be recognized throughout the school year, said O’Brien.

Contact Tiara Marocco: (949) 812-0635 or maroccot@msu.edu

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