A couple of weeks ago, I spent three days at the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) Training with a number of district and other Central Ohio administrators. The days were long, but the information was well presented and the process was very collaborative.
The new evaluation system is based on 50% teacher performance and 50% student performance (growth). Because the student performance aspect of the evaluation is not yet determined, the training focused on teacher performance. I was encouraged by the training because our current evaluation system is very similar to the OTES model. Following are my takeaways from the three days:
· OTES is a GROWTH model to help teachers improve. This is not a “gotcha” framework, but a model that relies on vetted, tested, and analyzed best practices.
· The rubric is a holistic scoring of teacher performance, which means it includes the observation, the pre and post observations, information observed through walkthroughs, PLC/department collaboration, etc.
· The rubric is comprised of three Organizational Areas: Instructional Planning, Instruction and Assessment, and Professionalism.
· Evidence for each organizational area is based on ten standard areas:
o Focus for Learning
o Assessment Data
o Prior Content Knowledge/Sequence/Connections
o Knowledge of Students
o Lesson Delivery
o Differentiation (major definition change for us all)
o Instruction and Assessment
o Classroom Environment
o Assessment of Student Learning
o Professional Responsibilities
· The three organizational areas and ten standards are very similar to our current evaluation system, so this should not be a significant change.
· The model has four ratings: Ineffective, Developing, Skilled, and Accomplished. Proficient is where a vast majority of teachers will be, which is a “rock solid” teacher.
· Every teacher will be evaluated at least twice per year, once per semester. Teachers that earn “Accomplished” will be evaluated every other year, while “Ineffective” teachers will be evaluated three times a year.
· Every teacher will have a plan. It will either be a growth plan (developing, skilled, or accomplished) or an improvement plan (ineffective). Again, the purpose is to help every teacher improve.
· Pre and post conference are best practice for the most effective way for us as educators to reflect on the planning, teaching, learning, and assessment process. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy the post-observation conferences I have with teachers.
· It’s extremely important for us all to learn the language of the rubric so that we are on the same page in terms of expectations. We should start having informal and formal discussions about this now.
· During the post-observation conference, we are to focus on two areas: reinforcement, which is a celebration of what went well and then refinement, which is an area for improvement.
Linda Romano, one of the OTES trainers, made two very profound statements about how OTES will impact the role of educators:
“The highest priority of professional development is helping teachers get better.”
“Helping teachers get better is the greatest priority of an instructional leader.”
I truly believe these two statements capture what most districts are about. This will help us have an even greater focus on instruction, learning, planning and assessment. Don’t get me wrong, this is probably one of our greatest challenges we face due to the number of evaluations we have to do. However, we are up for the challenge! Feel free to share comments, questions, or concerns.