Teacher, principal evaluation on school district’s radar | SummitDaily.com

Teacher, principal evaluation on school district’s radar

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news

With Senate Bill 191, the legislation concerning teacher and principal evaluations, being worked out at the state level, Summit School District officials are doing what they can to stay on top of developments without getting too far ahead and having to backtrack.

The state is currently developing the rules for evaluation. They’ve created six quality standards for teachers, including knowing content, establishing the learning environment, facilitating learning, reflecting on practice and demonstrating leadership – all of which fall into the professional practice category and makes up 50 percent of a teacher’s effectiveness rating. The last quality standard is student growth, which is measured mostly by state assessments and makes up the remaining 50 percent of the teacher’s score.

Principals have seven quality standards, with the first six relating to the 50 percent professional practice score. Those are: strategy, instruction, culture, human resources, management and external development. The student growth component again makes up 50 percent of the principal’s rating, and is measured primarily by the school’s overall performance.

Teachers can earn an ineffective, partially effective, effective and highly effective rating, which qualifies them for probationary and non-probationary status, depending on how many years they earned that rating.

Summit School District Board president Jon Kreamelmeyer expressed concern that teachers, in particular, would be focused too heavily on teaching to the state standards if 50 percent of the professional grade is determined by student scores.

“When you do that, it eliminates getting kids out and about in the community,” he said, adding that poor test scores could dramatically affect a new teacher’s ability to be hired.

District human resources director Trisha Theelke assured there are mechanisms to keep a young teacher in the hiring mix even with lower scores.

Boardmember Brad Piehl looked at the incoming legislation a different way: from the funding angle. There’s a lot of data to manage, he said, which may mean creating a line item in future budgets to fund the necessary manpower.

Theelke said the district is keeping an eye on the state’s progress, keeping pace with improvements that need to be made on the local end. But she’s holding the reins back some because the state could release a statewide model for implementing the evaluation system instead of allowing each district to create its own protocol within the rules. If that happens, she said she doesn’t want to backtrack and see wasted time.

Theelke said part of her monitoring efforts include informing teachers and staff about any developments and what they mean for Summit School District, and she plans to hold small information sessions as the legislation continues to unroll.

Also at the meeting, board members:

• Met with board candidates who will appear on November’s ballot to discuss board responsibilities, current issues and candidates’ visions for being on the board,

• Reviewed superintendent Heidi Pace’s action plan for achieving her goals and board priorities as outlined at a retreat this summer,

• Accepted a $150 donation to the middle school’s speech and debate team,

• Received a brief update on the equal access task force, including who’s on it and what was discussed at the first meeting,

• Broadened the definition of bullying to incorporate the use of technology to intimidate peers. The policy allows the district to intervene on school-related matters, which can be interpreted in a variety of ways,

• Defined some forms of physical activity that can fall into the district’s mandatory provision of physical exercise daily, and

• Updated other policies according to state revisions and house-keeping items.

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