District Performance Appraisal Instruments and Procedures
Race to the Top Initiative
Pursuant to the federal Race to the Top Grant Initiative awarded to the State of Florida in the summer of 2010, to qualify for grant funds each school district was required to submit a Final Scope of Work (FSOW) that met rigorous standards aligned with the grant’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The work must be a collaborative effort between the school district and the teacher’s union and receive School Board approval which were all reflected by respective signatures on the letter of agreement necessary to accompany the Race to the Top (RTTT) FSOW submitted to the Department of Education (DOE) in December, 2010.
The RTTT MOU required that the district’s FSOW plan include specific criteria along with a number of project components. There were nine (9) projects that required specific deliverables, timelines, and budgets. The nine projects include:
1. Expand Lesson Study
2. Expand STEM Career and Technical Program Offerings
3. Increase Advanced STEM Coursework
4. Bolster Technology for Improved Instruction and Assessment
5. Improve Access to State Data
6. Provide Support for Educator Preparation Programs
7. Improve Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems
8. Use Data Effectively for Human Capital Decisions
9. Focus Effective Professional Development
Once The SBHC FSOW was approved by the DOE, the second phase of the project began. Committees were formed comprised of union (HCEA) teachers, district and school-based administrators, and various content area specialists to work on developing specific requirements of the plan. In addition to decisions that included purchasing technology to support one of the project components, revised Principal and Teacher Evaluation Systems became a major part of meeting the RTTT FSOW Great Teachers and Leaders project.
Committees working on the revised principal and teacher evaluation systems attended webinars, conferences, and training meetings to learn about, select and develop an evaluation system that met the MOU requirements of a research-based, multi-metric, rigorous, defensible, and fair system that based 50% of the rating on student growth and achievement (has since become the Student Success Act based on Senate Bill 736) and the remaining 50% on consistently high standards based practices. While the responsibility was daunting, after thorough review and in-depth discussion, the instructional revision committee unanimously agreed on the Framework for Teaching Performance Appraisal System by Charlotte Danielson. There are four major domains and 22 subcomponents of “great teaching.” Rubrics and observation forms are an integral part of the system along with a focus on formative feedback that includes timely and constructive support to assist in enhancing effectiveness linked to improved student achievement. Committee work began in January and continued until late May. The work was very demanding in its scope and challenging in meeting the required timeline. After presenting the body of work to the school board, administrators, educator focus groups, and the District School Advisory Committee, the evaluation system was submitted by the June 1, 2011 due date and received DOE approval on June 24, 2011. Final implementation is subject to the collective bargaining process, however, the district is required by law to implement the approved revised performance appraisal system beginning with the 2011-12 school year.
The administrative revision committee selected the state supported Multidimensional Leadership Assessment (MLA) system authored by the Leadership and Learning Center based on research by Dr. Doug Reeves. There are ten (10) Dimensions of Leadership Competency within the assessment system. Consensus among the district’s school-based administrators has determined the system to be comprehensive in the qualities of instructional leadership necessary to be a “high performing leader of learners.” The committee worked to adjust the MLA to meet the RTTT and Student Success Act’s criteria of the 50% student growth and achievement requirement and the district submitted the plan to DOE by the June 1 deadline date. Final approval is pending.
The district’s plan is to implement both systems beginning with the 2011-12 school year. The district’s communication process on the systems’ guidelines and implementation is a priority. Information has been distributed and training dates have been scheduled for all system stakeholders. Additional information on the district’s revised evaluation systems entitled Enhancing Teacher and Principal Effectiveness Initiative will be available on the district’s website in the near future.