In November 2015, Public Act 173 was signed into law, providing important clarity to the ongoing policy discussions about the direction of educator evaluations in Michigan. Implementing Michigan’s educator evaluation law with fidelity is a key strategy in our efforts to see Michigan become a top ten education state within the next ten years. Educator evaluations are implicitly linked to MDE’s Strategic Goal #3, to “develop, support, and sustain a high-quality, prepared, and collaborative education workforce.” (MDE Educator Evaluation Website)
There have been a lot of discussions lately focused on educator evaluation. Many of the requirements took effect in the 2015-16 school year. This year, school boards must adopt a teacher evaluation and administrator evaluation system. So, if your district has not already gone through educator evaluation training, you will need to attend a training this year.
The four state-approved teacher observation tools are Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, the Thoughtful Classroom, and the 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning. The two state-approved evaluation tools for administrators are MASA’s School ADvance Administrator Evaluation Instrument and Reeves Leadership Performance Rubric. Superintendent evaluations must also be conducted with a rigorous evaluation tool.
There are many compliance and assurance issues from posting the information on district websites to board approval of instruments. But, what we need to keep in mind is that the emphasis on evaluation needs to be focused on improving instruction and student success. Many in the field are concerned with the final outcome of the evaluation (ineffective, minimally effective, effective, or highly effective) and numerous educators expect a highly effective rating or they become very frustrated.
Consider the many hours that teachers spend on teaching and learning, and how they process and develop lessons to meet all students. Is every student in your school at the same level? Do you discuss with students how they can improve? We need to remember as dedicated educators, evaluation is a time for growth and reflection. According to Danielson (2011), the credibility of an evaluation system is essential and the evaluation must be one that provides a vehicle for growth and development by providing opportunities for professional conversation around standards of practice. The educator evaluation frameworks and instruments are designed to assist districts, implement evaluation effectively, and provide ongoing assistance to build district capacity in the area of evaluation.
So, as you continue on your journey through another school year, use the evaluation process to learn, grow, and improve instruction. This is a time to reflect on professional conversations with your supervisor and colleagues to implement effective change and use collaboration to improve student learning. Kent Intermediate School District is offering 2-day School ADvance trainings. The Michigan Department of Education has published some documents to assist with understanding educator evaluation. There are FAQ‘s and an At-A-Glance paper that can answer many specific questions.
School ADvance Training Dates at Kent ISD:
This blog post was written by Dr. Dorothy Vanderjagt, Educator Evaluation Consultant for Kent ISD; and, it was edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.