As a former teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, I know very well that educators can tend to have their own language that makes non-educators’ eyes glaze over. Differentiated instruction, common core, instructional rounds, etc. could all describe a range of activities that have nothing to do with teaching or learning.
Translating the education-ease for a public audience can be a tricky endeavor. We want the public to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the strategy or intervention, but we don’t want to oversimplify the work. Unfortunately, the term ‘educator evaluation’ suffers from an oversimplification. Whether or not the oversimplification is justified in many cases, it is important that we begin to redefine the term.
The term ‘evaluation’ often brings up images of an inspection or other high-pressure situations in which there is a black and white decision made: yes or no, thumbs up or thumbs down, raise or no raise, continuation of employment or lay-off. When the evaluation is put in the context of teaching, the assumption is made that teachers are being graded as good or bad. Evaluation can and should be something a lot more than a grade or ranking.
We are excited to announce the formation of the Distinguished Educators Council!
From our press release:
Chalkboard is seeking 12-15 award-winning Oregon educators to serve on the Distinguished Educators Council. The Council’s mission will be to provide an independent platform for educator voices on reform efforts and implementation, as well as to advise Chalkboard and an array of stakeholders on initiatives not currently being addressed. Applicants should be current classroom teachers who want to participate on the Council in addition to their regular classroom responsibilities. Chosen applicants will earn a $1200 stipend for a year of service on the Council.
The Distinguished Educators Council will have professionally facilitated meetings and access to research on a range of topics related to strengthening the teaching profession including, educator evaluations, continuous growth and career paths, assessing effectiveness, principal leadership, and recognizing and rewarding great teaching. (more…)
When Chalkboard applied for a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant after funding and implementing the CLASS Project privately for four years, we did so knowing that there would be certain strings that came along with federal funding.
Those strings, while limiting Chalkboard’s autonomy, have also allowed us, and our six partner school districts, to participate in the national conversation about education effectiveness. The ability to influence thinking beyond our state is especially important as the federal government looks to redesign the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind) and prioritizes spending on certain initiatives over others.
Chalkboard’s CLASS program established a solid foundation for our participation in TIF. CLASS is a comprehensive model for supporting the professional growth of educators. TIF adds emphasis to the compensation component of CLASS, but it does not do away with the other three components: educator evaluation systems, career paths, and professional development. We strongly believe that educators need comprehensive supports. Our TIF districts are meeting the federal requirements around incentives for educators while demonstrating the power of systemic, teacher-designed models. TIF does not require that teachers be deeply involved in the design and implementation of the models, but having teachers and administrators at the table together is a foundational component of the CLASS Project.
I suspect I’m like many parents nowadays, who wonder how to be helpful to high school-aged children when advising them what fields of study and career paths to consider pursuing. As opposed to when I was getting an education, there is a much higher level of anxiety about employability for young people. It used to be, you went to college, got a degree and assumed a job would be available. Given the current realities of the American economy, that is no longer the case.
For better or worse, this means there is a higher premium on educational programs that result in marketable skills. Sisters School District is hoping to beef up such programs with a two-pronged effort that would 1) get high-achieving kids aware of and well positioned for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and other academically-intensive fields of study, and 2) get kids who are vocationally-oriented informed about what it takes to be qualified for work in those sectors.
Dependent on the results of private grant requests, the District intends to “strengthen the jobs pipeline” by providing an integrated program of career-related learning, work-based experience and college admissions preparation to complement grade 5 through 12 instruction.
This article was originally published by the
Statesman Journal on March 14, 2012 and can be found here.
With the controversy surrounding value-added models, including the recent release of teacher rankings in New York, it could be easy to give up on the models altogether as too controversial, unreliable or volatile.
Sharon Baum spent thirty-three years in public education as a physical and health education teacher, a school counselor, an assistant principal and principal. She has worked in several districts in Oregon and taught high school in Winterhaven, California. She retired in 2010, and finished her career with the North Marion School District as the principal at North Marion Middle School from 2000-2010.
Alex Haley said that folks like to hear a story over hearing a lecture. He shares that you should start out by saying “I have a story to tell.” People like stories. I would like to tell my story.
I was a middle school administrator for 16 years. Two of those years were as an assistant principal, and the remaining 14 years as a principal. Prior to that, I had been a teacher and a counselor. I went into administration because I wanted to be a teacher of teachers, and I felt that the time I spent as a counselor helping teachers with students and observations would benefit me as an administrator. I felt I had a good foundation in observational skills and I loved to observe teachers teaching, and help out where I could in improving the delivery of curriculum. I kept abreast of all the teaching strategies through professional development activities, workshops and books, and felt I had a good handle on how to help others be the best they could be. I also loved having conversations with students about the importance of learning and finding their niche to embrace their own style of learning.
Carol S. Witherell began her career in education teaching primary grades in the Fountain Valley Public Schools in California in the 1970s. She earned her M.A. degree in social ecology and human development from the University of California-Irvine and her Ph.D. degree in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota. She retired from the Graduate School Education Faculty of Lewis & Clark College in 2005, where she chaired the teacher education program for 8 years. Today she is an avid supporter of the arts and a volunteer with the City Club of Portland.
A Series of Four Film-Dialogue Evenings sponsored by City Club of Portland’s Agora Programs Education Committee
This series aims to activate a deeper, sustained educator-student-citizen dialogue about what a good education for the 21st century looks like. The series includes portraits of highly successful schools and classrooms, both in our region and around the world, followed by presentations by a panel of educators, students, and community leaders and dialogue between audience participants and our panelists. Portraits like these can inspire ongoing civic dialogues on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as educators and citizens alike rethink and transform our educational system so that all students can enjoy excellence, engagement, and equity in our schools.