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Teacher Evaluations: Principals Need More Support for Effective Implementation

Teacher evaluation systems are being foisted on administrators without the preparation, tools or support needed to make the systems serve their theoretical purpose — improvements in the practice of teaching. "If we expect teacher evaluation to lead to improved instruction and learning in schools, we must provide the tools, resources and knowledge that principals need to implement successful teacher evaluation models," according to Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

NAESP today joined with the National Association of Secondary School Principals to issue guidelines for supporting principals in their efforts to implement teacher evaluation system (also known as "teacher effectiveness" systems). The guidelines are targeted at policymakers and decision makers at all levels in the education community.

"There is growing concern about the increasingly complex and demanding role of principals with no reciprocal support for the expectations of the job, particularly as states and districts adopted new teacher evaluation systems," NAESP's Connelly said in a prepared statement.

Among the issues cited by the two organizations are "insufficient training, unclear rubrics, poor feedback mechanisms and inadequate time to complete them."

In order to address these issues, NASSP and NAESP made seven recommendations:

  1. First that states and districts be required to spend 10 percent of ESEA Title II funds "on high-quality professional development tied to new federal reforms that have changed school leadership roles and responsibilities";
  2. That principals be given ongoing professional development and credentialing specifically addressing teacher evaluation systems;
  3. That principals be allowed to give direct feedback on the evaluation models they have to work with, and "respect the professional judgment of principals in the teacher evaluation process";
  4. In the case of teachers who demonstrate effectiveness early on, that the number of direct observations be reduced and instead focus their evaluations on "professional growth plans to maximize the time for principals to engage in instructional coaching";
  5. That funding be made consistently available for hiring assistant principals "and other school administrators who provide direct support for teachers in every elementary, middle and high school";
  6. That teachers themselves be given individualized professional development; and
  7. That principals be provided with "effective technology and related tools to facilitate efficient observations and support them to disseminate timely feedback to teachers as well as personalize professional development and learning opportunities."

"Principals and the rest of the education community know that teacher quality is the single most important school-based factor in student achievement," said JoAnn Bartoletti, NASSP executive director, also in a prepared statement. "It is vital that principals have the assistance they need when handling the new teacher evaluation systems because schools and students cannot be successful if the teacher evaluation process is not successful."

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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