On Tuesday night, Robert Tymann, assistant superintendent for the East Hampton School District, held a presentation on the district’s annual professional performance review plan, required under a revised teacher and principal evaluation law passed earlier this year. Earlier this week the district sent the plan to the state for approval.
The district plan was outlined in an initiative, called “Race to the Top,” whose purpose is to make high school graduates “college ready” and “career ready.”
“At the heart of the change is the idea of evidence,” Mr. Tymann said. “Students will have to prove they’ve learned what the teachers have taught them.” He added, “It’s not good enough for a teacher to say that fractions were taught; what is the evidence?”
State and local test scores, student portfolios, and observations are other factors likely to be considered in the yearly teacher and principal evaluations, according the plan outline. “Teachers used to reward students who adapt to their way of thinking and teaching,” Mr. Tymann said. “Now, what students learned is a part of the equation.”
Principals, teachers, and their lesson plans will be assessed using 77 interconnected factors, and rated as “ineffective,” “developing,” “effective,” or “highly effective.”
The plan also expects to achieve goals established in a nationwide, state-led initiative, called Common Core Standards, which sets standards for math, English language arts, history, science, and technical subjects.
“We will shift to text-based answers in English language arts, with a focus on increasing students’ academic vocabulary,” Mr. Tymann said. “In math, we will focus more on problem solving and deep understanding of the material taught.” He said teachers will be encouraged to reduce the amount of topics they teach in exchange for delving into more complex matters.
Data inquiry teams will monitor and assess teaching and learning based on “evidence of district, school, classroom, teacher, and student yearly progress towards goals.”
During the current school year, teachers and administrator will be trained on the new methods. The district has submitted its professional performance review plan in plenty of time for state approval. Under the new evaluation law, districts must have an approved plan in place by Jan. 17, 2013, or they will lose their share of this fiscal year’s education aid increase. The application review process may take up to six weeks.