High Expectations and Accountability
In order to achieve our goals, we must have the highest quality instruction. High quality instruction comes from high quality personnel. Research demonstrates that effective teachers generate high student achievement (IRA, 1999). Through the Village of Excellence Academy’s multi-faceted feedback system, teachers are monitored through instructional goal setting and student achievement weekly, every six weeks, quarterly and annually. Additionally, the faculty develops individual professional development plans that are reviewed quarterly and annually. All data gathered are used in developing a narrative document regarding targeted areas of strength and weakness. This comprehensive 360 evaluation includes observing teachers through lesson plan review, instructional practices, and student interactions in a continuous improvement cycle to build expertise.
One-on-Ones. Each week, the administration meets with the staff to discuss items of concern for the employee. These 30 minute sessions include time for evaluating specific student concerns with the teacher, reviewing lesson planning and instructional strategies and finally planning for future growth and professional development. One-on-ones are invaluable to the VOEA style of evaluating teacher progress.
Classroom Walkthroughs. Through a series of scheduled and unscheduled visits by peers, mentors and administrators, teachers are evaluated based on research-based effective teaching principles. Using research-driven observational tools and resources (e.g., Marzano observation protocol), teachers are provided real-time feedback on daily instructional tasks ranging from effective use of academic engaged time to amount of positive feedback given per student.
The model is designed to create a reflective teaching environment so that teachers become the leaders in guiding their own improvement process. These forms are online and available for review to reflect growth and development across the school year. This tool is not used as an evaluation. It does provide feedback. The classroom walkthrough is conducted at minimum two days per week in each classroom during various academic areas.
Lesson Plan Review. Teachers are required to submit weekly lesson plans. These serve as legal documentation that the school presents the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards/Common Core Standards and provides a “fair and appropriate free public education.” The purpose for reviewing lesson plans is to ensure that teachers are indeed planning lessons (research shows that teachers who are better planners are more successful in meeting curricular objectives, Wong, 2005).
All teachers at VOEA are required to write lesson plans and submit them digitally for review by administration. Administration reviews lesson plans weekly and provides guidance and support to encourage the use of the most powerful instructional practices with our students. The value in posting lesson plans electronically is that teachers have the opportunity to review each other’s plans for recommendations, support and inspiration. Teachers will have common planning time to share ideas within and across disciplines.
STAR Assessments (Reading, Mathematics). Frequent assessments are a product of the Whole School Effectiveness Continuous Improvement Model based achievements of G. Anderson in Houston, TX and adopted by school districts across the country. The goal is to allow assessment of student progress to drive future school instructional needs. Every summer, the entire school staff disaggregates the previous school year’s assessment data. This sets goals and priorities for what needs to be taught when during the next school year. Teachers walk away with priorities for their instructional calendar.
Every six weeks, each student in every grade level is given a short “progress monitoring” assessment to determine if they are meeting expectations in reading and mathematics. These assessments are normative-referenced tests that are given to students throughout the year across the country. The scores have been aligned to the FCAT for predictive growth. They are designed to simulate end of year testing such as the FCAT or PARCC. The results are used to address which students may need more services through the MTSS process and plans are developed to meet the needs of the student. Teachers are held accountable by meeting with the administration every week to update student progress on the interventions recommended in the plans.
Academic Review. At the end of the nine-week grading period, the teacher sits with the administration and reviews each child’s progress. The discussion includes: a summary of their grades in each academic area, the student’s progress toward meeting benchmarks, their progress toward their goals written in the MTSS process, the number of parent conferences held and the teachers overall assessment of that students’ progress during that nine week period. If there are patterns present within individual students or class wide, the data are discussed and new goals are set for the next nine-week period.
Report Card Review. In concert with the academic reviews, the teacher must justify the grades being given to each student in each area. They must demonstrate the grade that they choose to give by using the data gathered throughout the nine week period. This discussion provides insight regarding academic priorities and ensuring skill mastery. Teachers may also discuss behavioral concerns that they are having with students. Plans are developed with the administration to remediate concerns.
Florida Model (Marzano). The Florida Evaluation Model will be used for all teachers. This protocol includes classroom teaching observations informally and formally. Formal observations are scheduled quarterly with the teacher and include pre and post conferencing to discuss performance.
Growth Plans (GP). Semi-annually and annually, the administrator and the teacher review the individual’s professional development goals. This state-mandated process serves as a self-assessment guide that is managed by the teacher and includes student assessment data. The administrator serves in the role of “coach” toward meeting those goals.
Year-End Improvement Plan. Teachers need to receive feedback in a narrative form that discusses strengthens and weaknesses in imperative performance domain areas. Teachers are given the opportunity for self-assessment in the categories and may add to or disagree with the plan. During a feedback conference at the end of the year, the teacher and administrator review the narrative and make changes and confirmations. After the discussion, the administrator finalizes the document and has the teacher sign. An official copy is placed in the teacher’s employment record.