Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 31, 2012

Administrators train to evaluate effectively

STILLWATER, Okla. — In less than a month, classroom teachers will begin evaluating students.

But another form of evaluation is happening right now among Stillwater Public School administrators.

Principals and assistant principals at each of the district schools are attending a workshop in Yukon to learn more about a teacher evaluation model, and superintendent Ann Caine attended a workshop last week about effectively evaluating administrators.

The purpose of the evaluation workshops is simple — student achievement.

“Any district worth its salt is going to continue to try to improve its instruction.” said Jim Ryan, assistant superintendent at Stillwater Public Schools. “The students coming through our door every day come from a wide variety of backgrounds and needs. As a teacher, your challenge is making sure all of your students learn. ... We expect our teachers and administrators to be lifelong learners and hone their skills. We expect our teachers to be professionally engaged, and our professional development programs continue to address that.”

District principals are using the Marzano method to evaluate teachers. Marzano is a comprehensive evaluation tool that identifies four primary areas of  teacher growth, development and performance. The so-called domains include classroom strategies, planning, personal evaluation and professionalism.

“The goal is to help administrators evaluate more objectively,” said Ryan. “Ideally, if three administrators walked in to evaluate a teacher, all three should come away with the same evaluation.”

Those building level administrators will be evaluated themselves by Caine, who attended an administrator evaluation workshop last week at Meridian Technology Center to learn more about McREL, an acronym for Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

“Again, all of this is done with the goal of student achievement,” said Ryan. “We expect the correlation to exist between well-trained, well-developed teachers and administrators and student achievement. I think there is a lot of good evidence of good teachers and student achievement, so we want our teachers to continually improve so that our student achievement improves.”

Meanwhile, teachers soon will begin a series of professional development seminars to prepare for the 2012-13 school year, which begins Aug. 20.

The seminars begin with a three-day math and reading workshop for K-5 teachers this week at the administration building.

The reading and math workshops are not included in the teacher’s contracts, but teachers will receive a stipend to attend the 6+1 Traits Writing workshop Aug. 6-10.

The writing model of instruction and assessment is designed to help teachers use a common language to refer to characteristics of writing and create a common vision of what good writing is.

“The whole idea is to have our elementary school teachers speaking the same language as the high school teachers so that as the kids move up to the next grade level, they have heard these terms before,” said Diane Fix, Director of Elementary Curriculum.

Fix said many teachers worked on curriculum maps in June.

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