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Teacher Performance Evaluation Task Force

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					                       Teacher Performance Evaluation Task Force
                                    August 14, 2008
                        Cambria Suites – Sawtooth Room – Boise

Nick Smith, Deputy Superintendent opened the meeting and welcomed everyone back.
He reviewed a handout that aligned the JPAS and Danielson Domains with the Idaho core
teaching standards. The handout also included a sheet to take notes to compare the
domains and the different district presentations the committee would be hearing during
the day.

Elaine Keough from the Middleton School District reviewed the Middleton School
Districts teacher evaluation model that they recently approved. A small committee was
assembled to create their new model and used the Danielson model as a base. Their final
product was approved by the school board and the Middleton Education Association. The
focus of the evaluation is improvement and professional development. The committee’s
final draft was modified to reach a consensus with the administrators and the teachers.
The teachers felt it was important to have an established rubric and exclude an “exceeds
expectations” rating, and principals wanted it to be manageable (the fifty-six point rubric
from Danielson was too cumbersome for the Middleton district and they compacted it).
The evaluation model did help to give them a common language for evaluation for all
stakeholders. They use the evaluation and variations of this evaluation for all certified
employees - teachers, counselors, media center, school nurse and school psychologist and
this year will include occupational therapists and speech pathologists. The model consists
of two plans, one for observation years and one for non-observation years. A teacher can
choose to stay on the observation year plan even if it is technically a non-observation
year. They take into account the composition of the classroom in the evaluation. They did
training with the administrators utilizing both books and videos, and they continue to do
monthly collaboration with the administrators.


Blas Telleria, Human Resources Director for the Boise School District gave a
presentation on the Boise School District’s teacher evaluation model. Mr. Telleria
emphasized that their evaluation is targeted at improvement and is a diagnostic tool and
noted that the evaluator gives feedback as well as a score. The diagnostic piece gives a
teacher feedback about adjustments that can be made to make them a more successful
teacher. They also need it to document consistent poor performance if an employee needs
to be moved out of the profession. The school district employs an intensive professional
development plan or formal improvement plan that includes targets and deadlines if there
are areas that are in critical need before a teacher is placed on probation. They utilize
master teachers for peer assistance as an inductive tool for new teachers to help increase
their proficiency and become familiar with the evaluation tool.

In response to a question regarding training for administrators and reliability between
their evaluators, Mr. Telleria noted that this is their weakness and that part of being fair is
having a trained administrator. When the district first implemented their model they
conducted training with their principals using teaching examples on video tape. It is still a
component of the professional development for their administrators and they are
currently revising it to include more training, but it has been five years since they had the
intense, in-depth training. A suggestion from Mr. Telleria was to refurbish the
professional development for administrators to include more on evaluation.

Mr. Telleria also gave a brief overview of their mentoring and peer assistance structure.
Their mentors are assigned to a building and therefore have less time per teacher, but the
peer assistants have a lot more time for direct one-on-one contact. Peer assistance is an
important component to retaining teachers and saving careers however requires
significant funding. He noted that the funding for the program would be preventative for
rural districts. This program previously had been funded by the state, but had two main
criticisms: one that the money was spread too thin to make a difference and the other that
the money went to the administrators’ “favorites” and therefore was not focused on real
peer assistance. There is also a need for peer assistance for administrators.

Dr. Linda Clark, Superintendent of the Meridian School District, presented on the teacher
evaluation model that they developed in collaboration with their teachers association,
administrators and other stakeholders. Their result ended up being pretty similar to the
Danielson model. She noted that it is always a work in progress, and they are studying the
link between teacher evaluation and student learning. They view evaluation as a
judgment of where that teacher stands in relationship to the standards. Dr. Clark
emphasized the importance of sharing to ease the transition process once a legislative
decision has been made regarding teacher evaluation. Meridian School District was
careful to develop a process that protects people that are not performing and has an
improvement process a teacher goes through before starting the dismissal process. The
district does utilize both a long form and a short form – the short form is used for teachers
who have been there and shown success. All classified and certified staff are evaluated.
Principals are required to log all of their observations and turn it in at the end of the year.
In recognition of the time consuming evaluation process and the expectation that their
administrators spend 40-50% of their time in the classroom, they try to provide principal
interns to the elementary school principals. Dr. Clark noted that they attribute inter-rater
reliability attribute to evaluation training and ideally she would like to add contract days
specifically to conduct more training. In the days before school begins teachers are
walked through the evaluation document and get some training on how they supervised
and evaluated.

Superintendent Jim Lewis from the Blaine County School District gave a presentation on
their standard evaluation model and their voluntary 360 degree employee evaluation. The
360 degree system includes feedback on an employee’s performance from all
stakeholders including other teachers, parents, students and district office directors. He
noted that it took some time to gain the trust that the results and responses are
confidential. The 360 degree evaluation is voluntary and is never used for teachers in
their first three years. During the first three years, the evaluation form used is based on
the Charlotte Danielson model and includes a component for proof of student learning.
The proof of student learning data includes ISAT scores, writing and math samples, as
well as pre and post tests aiming at both performance and skill measures. Their milepost
program also allows teachers to see how a student performed in their subject area in
previous years.

Christina Linder updated the committee on the Professional Standards Commission
(PSC)’s Administrator Preparation Task Force that was created through a concurrent
resolution at the end of the legislative session. She explained the process the PSC went
through to determine the scope and draft a web-based survey on administrator
preparation. Ms. Linder asked the committee to review the draft and make comments and
suggestions regarding the survey.


                       Teacher Performance Evaluation Task Force
                                    August 15, 2008
                        Cambria Suites – Sawtooth Room – Boise

In attendance: Tom Luna, Vince Hannity, Nancy Larsen, John Goedde, Liz Chavez,
Wendy Horman, Dan Sakota, Mike Vuitonette, Larry Thurgood, Dustin Kuck, Sherri
Wood, Maria Nate, Suzette Robinson, Mikki Nucks, Karen Pyron, Jann Hill, Jena
Wilcox, Christina Linder

Tom Luna, Superintendent of Public Instruction welcomed the group. He reiterated the
committee’s charge and the requirement to report to the legislature and governor in
January. He spoke about his experience with setting content standards and encouraged
the committee to closely consider elements and deliberate whether each details is nice or
necessary to include, and to leave the nice but not necessary details to local districts to
include if they desire. After the committee has put the plan together, he would like the
committee to meet and get input from the committee members about how it could tie into
a pay for performance plan. Last year a big concern regarding pay for performance was
not having a uniform evaluation tool for teachers in the state.

Christina Linder reviewed the day’s agenda and some adjustments were made. National
Center on Teacher Quality has a report Idaho’s on teacher evaluation. Ms. Linder shared
“Area 3 Teacher Evaluation and Compensation” with the committee (the full report can
be found at http://www.nctq.org/stpy/reports/stpy_idaho.pdf
The report shares good examples of what is best practice and what is recommended for
teacher evaluation for this committee to consider.

The IEA did a survey on which models districts are currently basing their evaluation.
Eighty districts responded and twenty districts are using Danielson’s model and twenty-
three districts are using indicators similar to the Danielson model.

There was wide consensus on including four main domains based on Danielson’s work.
There was discussion regarding specifically naming assessment in the instruction domain
and including relationships as a domain. It was determined that assessment should be
included in the title of the domain to emphasize the critical nature of assessment and its
link to instruction. Teachers should know how to use assessments to improve instruction-
- it isn’t just about the student’s score, but does that teacher have the pedagogical
knowledge of how to use assessment. Student performance can also be an indicator of
how a district is utilizing teacher evaluation and it is expected that if the tool is good and
used properly, student achievement would grow. The name of the domain will read
“Instruction and Use of Assessment.”

Meridian School District is an example of a teacher evaluation that recognizes
relationships as its own domain. The Bonneville School District which uses JPAS also
has a separate category for relationships. The argument was made that relationships are
also plays part in any domain. The Danielson model includes it in the professional
responsibilities. There is also research that supports specifically identifying the
relationships at its own essential element. There was further discussion regarding the
significant number of districts that are already aligned to the Danielson model that will
need to change their models if it is required as its own fifth domain, and the potential to
strongly encourage it be added as fifth but not require it. This topic was reserved for later.

Superintendent Luna spoke about his vision to have a number of evaluation plans that
meet the state requirements available through a clearinghouse and the plans could be
categorized by district size and districts could have those to use or to work off of in
establishing their own.

It was noted that training on individual strands can happen at some of the statewide
conferences which would help ensure that people are getting similar training.

There was a brief discussion regarding publicity of the progress of the committee and
getting the word out to teachers. It was noted that the Idaho School Boards Association
(ISBA) had some information at their conference during the committee’s early work and
the Idaho Education Association (IEA) has a blog regarding the task force’s progress and
has a subcommittee that has conference calls that includes both new and veteran teachers.
They also have updates at their board meetings. It was noted that the new teachers
welcomed the idea of being evaluated six times per year and were even receptive to have
a peer evaluate them. The committee’s progress needs to be taken on the road to go over
it with districts. It is important that legislators are supported by their constituent which
doesn’t happen if there isn’t enough information at the local level.

The discussion returned to the titles and descriptions of the different domains.

Domain 1 – Planning and preparation. - There was discussion regarding the use of the
word organization rather than planning and differences in meaning and connotation. It
was determined that because the Danielson model is being heavily relied upon changing
the one word in the title may lose more in confusion of identifying the difference than
gained in the slight difference in meaning. The difference is not so critical that it warrants
the confusion and changes that have to happen.

Domain 2– Learning environment - Discussion determined that the “learning
environment” is more inclusive and a better term than the “classroom environment.
There was debate and discussion regarding if the domain names the committee was
choosing were too tied to the Danielson model and therefore not leaving enough room for
other programs to fit these as a state model. It was noted that some districts have already
drifted away from the Danielson model, but that the real intent remains the same.
Concern was expressed that adopting the Danielson language will limit creativity in
adaptation to fit the local district. If the committee adopts the Danielson model we should
be very up front about what we based the model on and that Danielson is a very strong
base. It was emphasized that the Danielson model is developed from globally recognized
best practices in teaching. The idea was voiced of simply using the domains that are
recognizable but including a short description of the domain. It was noted that Danielson
does this in a way with subpoints. However, things that are embedded tend to loose focus.
Some districts are going to need to change, stretch and improve.

Domain 3 – Instruction and Use of Assessment. - Discussion about the term assessment
centered on whether it implies the teacher will be judged on a score. Assessment is a
continuing process and an evaluation is an end point.

Domain 4 – Professional Responsibilities

There is potential for a fifth domain focused on relationships. This would force some
districts already using the Danielson model to change. An option for districts to show
where the elements of the fifth domain are included in other areas was discussed or the
possibility of including the term in another domain title just as domain three. There was
concern that allowing it to be incorporated into other domains devalues it importance or
by isolating it could devalue its interaction in each domain. Some teachers need the
encouragement to focus on fostering those relationships with coworkers, students, and
parents, and teachers need to be able to shift their skills in this area to adapt to a new
environment.

The subcategories need to be further defined. There were questions regarding whether the
committee was going to create a full rubric that breaks things into the domains, or
whether that was going to be left to local control.

There was brief discussion about the ratings that would be used in the evaluation and if
they would include a rating recognizing exceeds expectations or distinguished skills. It
was noted that some performance levels are currently included in the master contract and
some are negotiated down to the details and others only specify how many people and
how many teachers or on the evaluating committee. There was concern that drilling down
too far may remove some collaboration at the local level. However some of these
elements affect the reliability and validity of the tool. The levels of performance will
need to be included in the final product and included in legislation and rulemaking. It was
noted that for this to be fair and reliable, training will need to be done and phased in –
this topic was reserved for further discussion at a later time.
Discussion was initiated regarding the different groups of teachers and how the
evaluation may differ between the different groups of teachers. The requirement may be
simply that each group must be evaluated.

The beginning teacher could have different meanings that are deeper than the category
contracts. A teacher who has many years of service but not necessarily continuing service
in a district may not be a novice teacher however they may need a deeper understanding
of how their new district conducts and views evaluation. This can be addressed in its own
“new to district” category.

The different groups of teachers were determined to be:
New to profession – years one through three of service
Experienced teachers new to district – one year of new to profession status with regard to
evaluation
Experienced teacher – four plus years of service
Teacher in need of assistance – status is specifically triggered.

There was discussion about using broader categories to increase the local control, and
that if the state defines the triggers for each category it may get too close to needing to
define where the teacher falls within the domain. It was noted that the state can’t identify
the type of professional development an individual teacher would need and that good
teaching in Middleton is good teaching in Post Falls. This is hard work, but not
impossible. Further discussion on this topic was reserved for another time.

The thread of conversation returned to the subcategories for each of the earlier
determined domains. Danielson’s components were accepted by the committee, however
with regard to Domain I – Planning and Preparation there was extensive discussion about
component 1d “Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources.” This component is not as
relevant in all subject areas for all teachers. There was concern that it could be arbitrary,
however that taking out on single component would imply it is not important. There was
some discussion about whether it is knowledge of resources implying awareness or
whether it is a use of resources, and that this might not occur during one observed lesson
however can be a part of the discussion with the teacher. The JPAS models considers
some domains visible in an observation and some are considered invisible in an
observation. Primary reading was an example where the knowledge of the variety of
resources is critical to matching those resources with students to ensure their success.
The resources element might not be as applicable to every teacher, but it is good to have
it there. There was also discussion about adding a component 1g Demonstrating
Instruction Alignment to the Standards and Use of District Adopted Curriculum. A final
decision was not made but components 1a through 1f were adopted as a minimum.

Domain 1 – Planning and preparation.
     1a: Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
     1b: Demonstrating Knowledge of Students
     1c: Setting Instructional Goals
     1d: Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources
       1e: Designing Coherent Instruction
       1f: Assessing Student Learning

Domain 2 – Learning environment
     2a: Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport
     2b: Establishing a Culture for Learning
     2c: Managing Classroom Procedures
     2d. Managing Student Behavior
     2e: Organizing Physical Space

Domain 3 – Instruction and Use of Assessment.
     3a: Communicating Clearly and Accurately
     3b: Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
     3c: Engaging Students in Learning
     3d: Providing Feedback to Students
     3e: Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness

Domain 4– Professional Responsibilities
     4a: Reflecting on Teaching
     4b: Maintaining Accurate Records
     4c: Communicating with Families
     4d: Contributing to the School and District
     4e: Growing and Developing Professionally
     4f: Showing Professionalism

It was noted that Meridian School District has these components but did a lot of
rearranging. The idea was voiced for an option for school districts to color code their
plans or map them for the department to demonstrate they have all the components.

Discussion resurfaced about only using the domains; the Department would determine
whether a district is utilizing reliable and valid measures and indicators for each domain.

There was discussion regarding the minimum number of performance measures to be
included in the model. The term basic can be problematic because a layman thinks it is
average. The model should include measures indicating proficient and unsatisfactory
performance as well as a not applicable or not observed that should be used sparingly.

Consideration was given to including a level to aspire too. There is fear in deciding
exemplary performance, however if ninety percent of teachers are proficient there is no
mechanism to recognize those going above and beyond. There needs to be a way to
recognize teachers that excel. There was concern that some may see it as a way to excel
and something to shoot for and some may feel that their administrator doesn’t like them.
As a first step this may be too hard for some to accept if a distinguished recognition
indicates pay. Superintendent Luna said that at this time this evaluation would be a
gateway to participate in a pay for performance plan. It was agreed that with regard to the
ISTARS plan from the past session, the rewards are at the group level in order to not to
pit teacher against teacher, but that even at the group level in order to receive the reward
a teacher would have to be at least at a proficient level.

There was lingering concern that no matter how good this model is that it is human
beings evaluating human beings, and principals are going to measure everyone at
distinguished level to avoid conflict with teachers. It was explained that if there is inter-
rater reliability an administrator doing this would easily be identified. There was
discussion about being able to identify areas for even proficient teacher to continue to
improve and to target their professional development. There will always be a few people
who fail a system, but it doesn’t mean the system doesn’t work. It was agreed that the
minimum number of performance measures will indicate not proficient, proficient and
above proficient.

Concern was expressed that there was little left to local control. Districts will need to
choose or develop the evaluation tool itself, but that everyone is assessed on the same
basic things. Some districts will need to make some changes to include a third category to
measure performance to recognize teachers who are below, meeting or exceeding
expectations. This will be a good opportunity to provide technical assistance to districts
and assist them. Mention was made that the “exceeds” needs to have an explanation and
definition as part of the rubric and this will be especially important for the teacher to
know what an exceeds measure looks like.

Districts have set criteria including a definition and process of what triggers a formal
improvement plan. The question was raised if a teacher could be on an improvement plan
in one district but not qualify to be on one in another district, and is there a chance to
improve before starting down the road to probation.

A teacher new to profession cannot move into the experienced teacher path unless they
have three years of evaluations that meet or exceed expectations. A teacher new to the
district should have a minimum of one year in which the evaluation meets or exceeds
expectations before they move into the experienced teacher path. It was noted that current
law requires two evaluations to be conducted per year.

It was emphasized that in talking to people about the task force, not to focus heavily on
specific details because this task force hasn’t drawn final conclusions. We need to ensure
that accurate information is disseminated.

Next meeting will be two days, September 17-18 at the State Department of Education in
the Barbara Morgan Conference Room. The committee will have an opportunity to hear
from and talk to Barry Newbold Superintendent from the Jordan School District in Utah.

				
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