Mount Morris Schools
Teachers to be rated in new state evaluation
Mount Morris is one of 27 school districts whose Annual Professional Performance Plans were approved by the state. All school districts were required to submit a plan by July 1, 2012; some plans were returned for more work, others missed the deadline.
Mount Morris received a $70,000 award because its plan was filed before deadline. The money will be used to “strengthen teacher and principal effectiveness,” said Mount Morris Superintendent of Schools Dawn Mirand.
At the end of the current school year, all Mount Morris teachers will be rated either highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective.
The ratings are determined by these measures: 20 percent from student scores on State tests; 20 percent from local tests and 60 percent from observations of teaching by administrators and peers.
Above state-average scores for a teacher’s students would result in a “Highly Effective” rating if observations show excellence.
Meeting state average on test scores would give a teacher an “Effective” rating. “Below State” average places a teacher with a “Developing” rating and well-below state average an Ineffective rating.
Teachers who receive Developing or Ineffective Ratings will get a Teacher Improvement Plan which includes identification of improvement areas, a timeline for achieving them and the way that improvement is measured.
More than two consecutive years of ineffective ratings could result in termination of employment.
During the school year that ended last June 2012, Mount Morris teachers in grades 4-8, English/Language Arts and Math teachers used the State’s evaluation system to measure their teaching with test scores; this was an in-house initiative.
Since the official state mandate was not in effect yet, results were not released publicly, nor turned into the State; information was, however, analyzed by the teachers using State guidelines.
The state has also introduced evaluation requirements for principals which include feedback from teachers, students, parents and the community.
Visits to the principal from trained administrators will be part of the evaluation process. School graduation rates will also be used in the principal’s rating.
Superintendent Mirand said that it was necessary to negotiate the development of the evaluation plan with the teachers’ association because it was a change in past practices. “Everything went smoothly,” Mirand noted.
She reflected that the “spirit of this plan is to improve instruction, to coach and support teachers so that students leave us well-prepared to be successful contributors to society. It [the plan] is not to punish, but to help those teachers who need to get better.”