The Empowering Educators to Improve Student Achievement Conference started with 10 questions presented to the audience. Members were issued a digital device that allowed answers to be tallied and recorded on the large screen. Some of the interesting answers included
94% of the audience knew that all evaluators in Ohio are required to be credential to evaluate teachers
More than half the teachers answered false to the statement “as a teacher, I understand how my instruction needs to shift to demonstrate my understanding of Ohio’s College and Career Readiness Standards in my performance evaluation.” Similarly, less than half the administrators responded favorably that they” understand how they will observe the instructional shift needed from Ohio’s College and Career Readiness Standards.”
Teachers voted they had “some familiarity” with the statement “I know how evaluation will be used to support decisions regarding promotion, retention, and potential compensation at my school”
37 % said they had “no familiarity” given the statement “I know which student growth measures my school will use for 50% of my evaluation and how they are calculated.”
However, in an interesting response, 83% answered “no” to the statement “I believe that many educators are afraid of evaluation.”
Shortly after the audience survey, State Superintendent Stan Heffner spoke to the large crowd. Mr. Heffner made four statements concerning his beliefs about educators:
1.) [I] believe administrators and teahers care about kids
2.) All teachers and administrators work their hearts out everyday and want kids to learn and grow
3.) Teachers and administrators want to know how well they are doing and how well their kids are doing
4.) All teachers and administrators want to be treated as professionals. We want to be valued and have a voice in what we are doing.
Heffner shared two additional statements that seemed to go over well with the crowd. He said ” the higher the value added, the greater feedom the teacher has to chart the course of the remainding part of the evaluation” and “Ohio is too diversed to have a one size fits all approach to anything” (to which the latter, many applauded)
The morning session concluded by bringing a “Panel of Experts” to the stage to answer general questions regarding the new evaluation program. Included on the panel was Heffner, guest speaker Joanne Weiss (chief of staff to the Secretary of Education), Patricia Frost-Brooks ( President, OEA), Melissa Cropper (President, OFT), Ginger Hixon, intervention teacher, and David Taylor, a principal from Dayton.
From that discussion, some of the more interesting quotes included:
Weiss: The purpose of evaluation is to “recognize who is doing a phenomial job” and to “identify effective teaching for training and staff development purposes”
Heffner: the evaluation process should “separate employment from performance”
Cropper: “teachers are afraid of evaluations. They are afraid of how they might be used”
Frost-Brooks: “having 15-28 minds in front of you that think differently makes this a very complex process”
Taylor: “perception vs. reality. Every teacher thinks they are doing a good job.” “hard working doesn’t mean effective”
Weiss: evaluation should “lead to improvement and practice.” “When in fog, keep walking forward”
One of the most attended breakout sessions was “Legal and Policy Updates for RttT LEA’s” hosted by Jessica Spears, Assistant Legal Counsel for ODE and Jim Herrholtz, Associate Superintendent,ODE Division of Learning. This session was attended mostly by administrators. The most recent “Teacher Evaluation Policy” was handed out to everyone in attendance and key points reviewed. Some of those highlighted statements included: (from Sub. SB 316 (which is pending))
- The Board directs the Superintendent to implement this policy in accordance with State law. The requirements of this policy prevail over any conflicting provisions of a collective bargaining agreement entered into after __________, 2012. (90 days from the effective date of Sub.SB 316)
- This policy does not apply to substitute teachers
- The Board annually submits to the ODE the number of teachers assigned an effectiveness rating, aggregated by the teacher preparation programs from which, and the years in which, the teachers graduated
- In calculating student academic growth, a student will not be included if the student has sixty or more excused or unexcused absences for the school year.
- Each evaluation shall include: (1) Two (2) cycles of formal observations of at least thirty (30) minutes each; and (2) Periodic classroom walk-throughs by the evaluator.
- For teachers who are on limited or extended limited contracts, one evaluation consisting of at least three formal observations must be conducted annually by the first day of May. Each teacher on a limited or extended contract shall be provided with a written copy of the evaluation results by the tenth day of May.
- The Board of education may also elect, by adopting a board resolution, to require only one formal observation of an “Accomplished” teacher, provided the teacher completes a project that has been approved by the board to demonstrate the teacher’s continued growth and practice at the accomplished level.
- Each teacher evaluation conducted under this policy shall be conducted by a person who holds a credential established by the ODE for being an evaluator
- Teachers who teach in a “core subject area” are required to register for and take all written examinations of content knowledge selected by ODE if the teacher has received an effectiveness rating of “Ineffective” on evaluations for two of the three most recent years. “Core subject area” means reading and English language arts, mathematics, science, foreign language, government, economics, fine arts, history, and geography.