Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Moving Target

Last week I shared out some of the benefits of all students having a common core set of learning standards. It provides consistency for the students and the teachers and then they can build on from that common framework in ways that are appropriate for the students and teachers. However, there is another important aspect in the Michigan education system that deserves the same level of high standards and consistency...teacher evaluations. Like Common Core, teacher evaluations have become a political hot topic and seems to be something that no one wants to touch.  Probably because it's a complex issue.  When I think of teacher evaluation reform, I think of the quote by Ronald Reagan that "There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers". Teacher evaluation reform will start when we simply get input and implement positive changes, but it won't be a easy.

While I don't claim to have all the answers to this issue, there are some general common sense things that need to be in place to assist in the evaluation process and the goal of helping teachers get better at their craft. The first thing that has to happen is gathering input from teachers and administrators. How can we develop a tool for improvement if we are not including those it is intended to evaluate? Many groups have helped try to give a voice to educators and one group is the Michigan Education Voice Fellowship. Todd Bloch, a Michigan teacher leader,  is heading a group to gather input from educators and share with legislators some things that will help with the development of a practical and beneficial model. A link to the webpage tells more about the solutions being offered Michigan Evaluation Coalition.

In addition to input from educators, there needs to be a level of consistency.  Currently districts each have their own tool and their own measurements of student growth. Talking with administrators from across the state I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. When districts are scrambling to "put something in place" that tool may not always be the best tool, but simply something to meet a requirement.  We fight for better tools of assessment for our students' growth all the time, why wouldn't we want better tools for our own assessment as well? In regards to consistency, I know one size does not fit all.  However, there needs to be a level of agreement on how we are measuring growth and what indicators we are using.

Finally, we need to revisit the purpose of teacher evaluations. The focus should be on GROWTH and reflection. Yes, we need to measure student growth and reflect on how we are nurturing that growth, but we also need to look at our own professional growth. What are we doing to better our skills? How are we pushing ourselves to grow as educators? Who are we seeking out and partnering with to collaborate and stretch our abilities with? Does our evaluation system focus on a growth mindset? If not, let's make it so!

Back to my original statement that there are no easy solutions. Teacher evaluation reform is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.  I think it's important that educators have a voice in how they are evaluated and that some of these key points are addressed in the model that will eventually be used in this state. The educators I know and have had the pleasure to work with want to grow and they want to have those reflective conversations. Most importantly, they want what's best for students. Teachers deserve better than a moving target. It's time to give them what they want and help them grow professionally and celebrate their successes. When teachers grow and are respected as the professionals they are, then our students win as well.

photo credit: Google Images


"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." - Albert Einstein

"The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question." - Peter Drucker

"One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results." - Milton Friedman

Kid President- A Letter to the Future (3 minutes)

UPCOMING EVENTS (highlighted items are for all staff)

Monday, October 5: 3rd Grade Team Meeting 11:30 am
                                 Student of the Month Assembly/Walk-a-Thon Awards 3:00 pm
                                PTSA Meet & Greet at Central Office 5:45 pm
Tuesday, October 6: 4th Grade Team Meeting 9:10 am
                                  Fire Drill 9:30 am
                                  K Team Meeting 1:15 pm
                                  1st Grade Team Meeting 3:10 pm
Wednesday, October 7: IEP Limberg/Bartnick
Thursday, October 8: Staff Meeting (wsg Phil Francis) 8:00 am
                                  Jon to district Tech Meeting 10:30-11:30 am
                                  2nd Grade Team Meeting 11:40 am
Friday, October 9: PBS "Super Be" Party hosted by Jon & Denise 3:00-3:30 pm

Monday, October 12: Picture Day in the morning
                                  Data Dive all day in the LMC (rotating subs) K-2 in AM/3&4 in PM
Tuesday, October 13: No School for Students PD in morning at Schoolcraft College & afternoon at Building
Wednesday, October 14: Achievement Team Meeting 8:00 am
                                       Bill Roberts from AXA available for teachers in lounge
Thursday, October 15: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                                   Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm

No comments:

Post a Comment