Director of Learning Report
New Teacher Evaluation:
In the past two months we have received much more clarity from the state regarding our implementation of the new teacher evaluation. In December a presentation was made before the legislature detailing the rule changes outlined in the new evaluation model. The presentation also articulated how teacher proficiency will be calculated and how student growth data will inform a teachers summative evaluation score. I'd also like to make you aware some districts piloting the new evaluation model submitted data to the state on how this shift in practice will impact their principals. In short, the amount of additional time these evaluations will require of principals equates to about a month of additional work. This is a significant impact on our leaders, and it's amidst other important transitions we are making that will require extra time and attention (transitioning to the common core standards and the new assessments that will come with them).
In order to prepare our leaders we are scheduled to attend a 2 day training in February. This training will deepen our understanding of our new evaluation rubric. As a follow up to this training I have organized 35 hours of independent online study this spring. Research is showing this online training is highly effective in ensuring our administrators are accurately using the new rubric. This inter-rater reliability is significantly important to ensure a summative evaluative score at the middle school is comparable to a summative evaluative score in the primary school. Because this new evaluation law has new consequences based on these scores staff need to have confidence we are using these rubrics accurately. Upon completing the independent study principals will take a test that will deem them reliable evaluators should they pass.
Over the past two months our union leadership has partnered with us to prepare this transition for staff. As a result of this collaboration we have a communication plan outlined. Shari Conditt offered to share our first message to staff at the January WEA all member meeting. After that she and I will attend each building staff meeting to re-iterate the information we have and respond to questions. I have attached the information we will be sharing for your reference.
Common Core Standards:
I am pleased to report all certificated teachers have now had an introduction to the upcoming national common core standards in both math and English language arts. We have focused our professional development on the instructional shifts these standards will require in both content areas. While there is much for staff to still learn these initial trainings will serve a solid foundation for us to build on. I am now turning my attention to how we will prepare staff to make the content shifts outlined in the standards as well as monitoring developments regarding the next generation science standards. I anticipate the next generation science standards will be adopted by our state in the near future.
National Boards Certification:
I am pleased to formally announce two of our newest National Board Certified Teachers, Miranda Bullock and Ryan Close. The certification process is rigorous and required they provide much evidence of their effective teaching practices. This accomplishment is truly worth celebrating, so we did during the last high school staff meeting. Both were given a certificate of recognition and their names were added to our district plaque honoring all those in our district who have achieved this certification.
As you know we currently have 12 working toward certification this year, and 9 are participating in a program offered by two National Board Certified teacher leaders, Holly Royle and Shari Conditt. This support program now formally offers to candidates regular professional development to learn about the national board certification process, review sample entries, and even meet with and learn from those who scorer entries. Along with this professional development the candidates receive one day of sub time to work on their certification and the opportunity to meet with trainers and review their entries prior to submitting them. The feedback I have received from staff thus far has been very positive and I am hopeful it will have two results, higher success rate for candidate seeking certification and increase number of staff seeking certification. If all of our current candidates achieve certification we could have roughly 20% percent of our classroom teachers nationally board certified. These numbers are rare in a district our size and something to be proud of. I am very grateful to Shari Conditt who continually encourages and supports staff to become certified.
The state assessment cycle has begun and principals are armed with their assessment binder toolkit. I have also shifted assessment operations Carla Kirkpatrick used to do for Sped and ELL department back under my umbrella. Sherri Franke will now assist me in ensuring supplemental accommodation kits are ordered etc. Carla has committed to training Sherri in all assessment related operations prior to her transition out of our district.
Mid-Year End of Course Assessment
Our first round of assessments are the mid-year End of Course Assessments for math and biology. Both John and Dan have been working with the counselors to review each student's status for testing and will ensure each student who needs to test is assigned the correct booklet.
While last year's online testing posed challenges, when the results came out we did not see any related impact our student achievement scores. After discussions with both principals about pros and cons of online testing we agreed we will continue to complete state testing online in grades 5-8 but do not intend to add any other grade levels. Steve Riple and his team have always been a critical support during online testing and he anticipates the state online system will work well and he and the team will be available to give us added support to ensure online testing goes smoothly. In preparation the principals, Steve and myself participated in a webinar that gave us an overview training for online testing. Extra paper pencil tests will also be ordered and available as an option for students who struggle with computers or online testing.
Collection of Evidence:
Finally our high school math department is working hard to ensure each student who has not yet passed an End of Course Assessment has an opportunity to complete a Collection of Evidence this year. Then, in the event students don't pass the test on this second try (mid-year EOC) they can submit their Collection of Evidence in June as another means of demonstrating they know the content and meet the graduation requirement related to the test.
Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium Pilot:
Our Intermediate and Middle Schools are fortunate to have been invited to participate in a pilot of the upcoming SBAC assessments. These assessments will measure student achievement of the new national Common Core Standards that will replace our state standards in 2015. Any early insight we can gain on this new assessment will help us prepare for the upcoming transition.