Leaders from Portland Public Schools and the Portland Association of Teachers described agreed-upon changes to the teacher evaluation process that will meet state requirements, during a meeting of the Portland School Board tonight.
In June 2011, the Oregon Legislature enacted SB290 which requires school districts to design and implement systems to assess teachers’ and principals’ professional skills that incorporate multiple measures of student academic growth (i.e. graduation rates, student attendance rates, standardized test scores, etc.).
Updated teacher evaluation lays foundation for SB 290 implementation
Many of the requirements of SB 290 were met in fall 2011 when Portland Public Schools overhauled the evaluation process for teachers, through an agreement with the Portland Association of Teachers.
PPS’ prior 30 year-old teacher evaluation system was a checklist evaluation that offered cursory descriptions of practices at each performance level and emphasized “minimum standards.” The new system encourages teachers to improve continuously.
In the new evaluation, teachers are rated based on a variety of classroom practices that are observed by principals, such as “designing coherent instruction” and “setting instructional outcomes.”
How these practices look in the classroom is specifically defined for different “unsatisfactory,” “developing,” “proficient” and “distinguished” performance levels.
(For example, a teacher is “proficient” in managing classroom transitions if “transitions occur smoothly with little loss of instructional time.” The expectation for a “distinguished” rating: “Transitions are seamless, with students assuming responsibility” for transitions.)
Student learning growth informs evaluation
A work group of principals, administrators, teachers and teachers association representatives worked this year to identify how multiple measures of student achievement growth data would be explicitly incorporated in the evaluation process.
Beginning in the 203-14 school year, Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skill (OAKS) data will be used as a baseline when teachers set goals for the coming year. Additionally, two teacher selected metrics – identified during each teacher’s goal setting process – will showcase the academic growth of students in a teacher’s classroom. Examples could include unit tests, work samples or more standardized assessments such as DIBELS or MAP.
“We’ve come a long way in two years and we’ve done it collaboratively,” noted PPS Regional Administrator Sascha Perrins. “Now that we have agreement on major concepts, we want to support our teachers and principals in setting goals that bring out the best in our students.”
Joshua Zeller, a mentor teacher supporting 15 new teachers across the school district said, “The evaluation process affirms what good teachers already do, which is to look at learning needs of students and make adjustments based on their work. It creates a collaboration around student needs between teachers and administrators.”
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