1. If “40% of a teacher’s evaluation” is based on student learning gains, what comprises the remaining 60%?
The remaining 60% is the teacher’s written evaluation. This will be jointly determined by the principal (30%) and mentor/peer evaluator (30%).
2. Will someone other than the principal be involved in identifying “ineffective teachers”?
The principal’s written evaluation will comprise 30% of a teacher’s evaluation. The other 70% will come from a mentor evaluation (30%) and student achievement gains (40%).
3. Who will conduct the “intense research” and what is its purpose?
As a result of the grant, the district expects to attract several large research studies. The parallel Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) program is one example of a research study in Hillsborough County that came about, in part, due to our participation in the larger grant. The lead researchers in MET are likely to be involved in further studies of teacher effectiveness and student achievement. It is also likely that the value-added model we implement will become the focus of outside academicians. An underlying goal of the Gates Foundation is to try to answer the elusive question “What is effective teaching?” We hope and expect our program will go a long way toward answering that question.
4. How will the “great” teachers be identified?
Master teachers are those whose evaluations exceed a pre-determined threshold once the new evaluation system is in place Peer/Mentors evaluators and Lead Teachers will be selected by committees from those who apply.
5. Will principals’ evaluations be formulated the same as teachers: 40% based on students’ learning gains and 60% other?
The principal’s evaluation will be more complex. They will be rated based upon a 360-degree feedback from staff and Area Director as well as a variety of student achievement, discipline, attendance, and fiscal data.
6. Are teacher levels going to be published or made public?
The district will not publish the teacher levels. However, under a career ladder system a teacher’s evaluation range can be derived from his/her salary, which is a public record. We will work to communicate with parents and the public to make clear that, although there is a range on the career ladder, all levels represent effective teaching.
7. How is National Board Certification going to be factored into the evaluation tool? Also, will they automatically be placed into the top tier of teacher pay?
NBCT opting in to the new system will be placed on the tier that corresponds to their district evaluation. The additional pay for NBCT will continue as long as it is funded.
8. How do we create a climate of collaboration when there are teachers who may feel devalued due to their tier status?
It is our hope that the new system will improve collaboration by encouraging teachers to strive for a higher evaluation. The new compensation system is not based upon a percentile ranking for awards. Therefore, in theory, all teachers can achieve the Master level. Through mentoring and growth due to PLC involvement, teacher performance is expected to rise; in fact, that very concept is at the root of our plan.
9. How will this affect principal placement?
Principal placement is reviewed by the Division of Administration on a regular basis and better data will only serve to increase the scrutiny. Like teachers, principals who are identified as ineffective will have opportunities to improve, and in some cases they will be dismissed.
10. What groups are included in the proposal?
While we are starting with principal and teacher evaluation committees, the proposal eventually will extend to all instructional personnel.
11. How much and what types of trainings will be provided to principals and peers/mentors for the new evaluation tool?
A four-to-five day training will be provided to all those who will use the new observation/evaluation instruments. In addition, trained observers will go into classrooms to conduct paired observations during the early stages of training.
12. What will happen if a teacher cannot make tenure in that 3-4 year window?
As it the case today, a teacher who is not granted tenure (non-probationary status) at the end of three years may be continued into a fourth year. Teachers not granted tenure(non-probationary status) after the fourth year will be terminated.
13. Will there be a process for appealing evaluations (principal or peer) or point values assigned for learning gains?
Yes, there will be an appeal process. The evaluation appeal process will not change dramatically from the current model. The learning gains metric will be computed; any appeal of the learning gains component would have to have a basis in the inclusion of the wrong student or wrong score, not the way in which the score was calculated.
14. How many evaluators will one teacher have?
Right now, we plan for each teacher to have one peer/mentor evaluator in addition to the principal.
15. What is the timeline for implementation of each part of the grant?
We will get this information out as quickly as possible, but it is not set in stone at this time. The teacher and principal evaluations will be used in the 2010-11 school year. The new career ladder compensation will probably be implemented in 2013-14.
16. I would like to know more about support for non-performing teachers. It is taking us too long to rectify situations in which children are with the wrong person.
Your comments go directly to the heart of our proposal. It does take us too long to rectify some situations and in drafting our proposal we included three points that are aimed at providing better support for struggling teachers. Our mentor/peer evaluators will provide support and feedback for every teacher in the district. Expert teachers will be in the classroom observing and providing feedback designed to improve the skills of their peers. Second, a ramped up professional development system will be tied directly to teacher performance. Teachers with a demonstrated need in an area will be required to take courses that will help them address those needs. Finally, principals and mentor/peer evaluators will be trained in evaluation and coaching so that our evaluation system better reflects the effectiveness of our teachers. When an ineffective teacher earns tenure (non-probationary status) or continues year after year to demonstrate ineffective practice, it’s everyone’s fault. Together, we have to ensure that every classroom has an effective teacher.
17. How will the district support and retain good administrators?
The answer to this question is very much the same as for teachers. We will change our administrative evaluation so that it includes student achievement and teacher input as important indicators. New pay structures will be put in place to reward administrators whose schools demonstrate outstanding performance. Ineffective administrators will be reassigned, thus placing even more value on those who do a great job.
18. How is this award a benefit to CTE? How does the Dev. Evaluation System affect CTE and Career Centers?
All teachers will be included in the new system. It is our expectation that teachers in every subject area will benefit from the additional support.
19. Which teachers will be evaluated? (tenured or non-tenured)
All teachers will be evaluated as they are now, non-tenured fall and spring, tenured in the spring. What will change is the number of observations that will be conducted. All teachers will be observed a minimum of three times per year either by an administrator or a mentor/peer evaluator.
20. Will evaluations be annual?
21. Will this help remove educators who are not effective in the classroom? Where is the support for the teachers if their evaluation is not outstanding? Isn’t the goal teacher achievement as well?
The goal of the mentor/peer evaluators is to improve struggling teachers, not dismiss them. It’s much more effective for the district to help a teacher improve than it is to dismiss him/her and start over with a new person. Ultimately, however, consistently underperforming teachers will be dismissed. The same is true for underperforming administrators.
22. With the advent of a new set of rules, what additional paperwork and responsibilities will be added to the school day? What do we exactly need to do for this grant? (extra paperwork? exams? documentation? )
Very little extra will be added as a result of the Empowering Effective Teachers Grant. The primary addition will be the scheduling of a post-conference to follow all classroom observations, but this is a practice that should be taking place currently.
23. What is the 360 degree Tool? How will it work?
The 360 degree feedback tool is an element of the principals’ evaluation. It is a questionnaire (similar to our SCIP survey) that is completed by the Area Director and all teachers on the staff. Other personnel will continue at this point to provide feedback through the SCIP, but the 360 could be expanded later.
24. Charlotte Danielson seems to be more business based. Will the rubrics be changed? If so, who decides to make such changes?
Danielson’s rubrics reflect best practices in teaching. There is a teacher evaluation committee working with her in the district. They would be the ones to recommend changes.
25. How long before a teacher can move up a level? If a teacher drops a level, how long before you can move up again?
A teacher will move up the ladder after two consecutive years of higher performance.
26. How many times is a teacher allowed to drop a level before the teacher is dismissed from the Hillsborough County Schools?
This would depend on the degree of the drop. A teacher who drops from a 5 to a 4 or to a 3 is still, by definition, an effective teacher. Teachers who drop into the 1 and 2 levels would be considered ineffective and recommended for dismissal. The dismissal process itself will remain the same and teachers will still have a hearing.
27. What type of evaluations will be performed on teachers that opt-out to the new evaluation career ladder?
The new evaluation system will apply to all teachers, regardless of whether they opt-in to the new compensation package.
28. What is the definition of highly effective teachers?
When we refer to “highly effective teachers” we do so in the context of the new evaluation system. Evaluation scores will be grouped on a 1-5 scale. Our definition of “highly effective” is an evaluation score of 4-5. Once this new evaluation is in place, such a score will allow a teacher to qualify for positions such as Teacher Leader, Peer Evaluator, and Mentor Evaluator.
29. When will a plan be in place for non-classroom teachers? (i.e.: specialists, resource, support personnel, etc.)
That is unknown at this time and they will be rolled out individually rather than collectively. It is still possible that some of these positions may have a new evaluation instrument, based on Charlotte Danielson’s work, in place by 2010-11.
30. Can you drop to a 2 or a 1 once you’re tenured (non-probationary status)?
Yes. Changing levels on the career ladder requires multiple years of declining performance before a drop in level. Performance is assessed annually and includes all three portions of the evaluation (principal, peer/mentor, and student achievement). While the purpose of Mentor/Peer Evaluators is to support teachers and prevent such an occurrence, it is possible that a teacher’s rating could fall into this range.
31. If veteran teachers can opt out, how do we plan to gauge effectiveness? Only new teachers?
The opt-in is only for the compensation plan. All teachers will be included in the new evaluation model.
32. Evaluation system – Parents, teachers (peers), principals. Will teachers have any real input into their own evaluation? (I.e. teacher may excel in a particular area – can that be included?) Also will there be any part of the evaluation that includes all the mentoring of students outside of classroom hours?
Because classroom observations will be followed by feedback sessions much more frequently, teachers will have a better chance to explain factors related to instruction that may not have been observed. The Charlotte Danielson frameworks include several components that could touch upon examples such as yours, among them Reflecting on Teaching, Communicating with Families, Showing Professionalism, Demonstrating Knowledge of Students, and Establishing a Culture for Learning.
33. How will ESE (Center Based) teachers be evaluated? (40% Student Gains on Evaluation) (Our students make progress very slowly/not yearly/hard to measure with tests)?
Student progress will be measured through appropriate assessments for all students. Once we contract with an experienced consulting group, they will determine the most appropriate measures for these students.
34. Can you be dismissed if you don’t show necessary gains?
First, there will be no changes to the safeguards included in the dismissal process. Any teacher recommended for dismissal will continue to have the right to a hearing at which he/she is represented. It is expected that teachers whose evaluations remain below level 3 for consecutive years will be recommended for dismissal. It is important to note that one’s evaluation level is based upon 30% principal rating, 30% peer rating, and 40% student achievement. No single factor, such as achievement, stands alone.
35. Will administrators also have a similar career/pay ladder?
That has not yet been determined. The proposal commits to a pay-for-performance bonus for administrators, but does not create a career ladder. Administrative “steps” tend to be far fewer in number than those on the teacher salary schedule, so there is less room to fit a career ladder approach in successfully.