Great Teachers & Leaders

GREAT TEACHERS AND LEADERS

“As a parent and a teacher, I know the value of education.  I believe that the teacher is the single most important influence on a child’s academic success…In Georgia, we have the incredible opportunity to be a part of cutting edge reform.  Along with our twenty-six partnering districts, we are developing a plan for determining and rewarding the value that teachers add to their students’ success.”

Kathie Wood – Teacher and Leader Advisor  

This work led by the Georgia Department of Education: Office of School Improvement.

Teacher Keys and Leader Keys Evaluation Systems

During January through May 2012, as part of the Race to the Top Initiative (RT3), Georgia will pilot the Teacher Keys Evaluation System (TKES) and the Leader Keys Evaluation System (LKES), complete evaluation systems that will allow the state to ensure consistency and comparability across districts, based on a common definition of teacher and leader effectiveness.

The primary purposes of TKES and LKES are to:

  • optimize student learning and growth;
  • improve the quality of instruction by ensuring accountability for classroom performance and teacher effectiveness;
  • contribute to successful achievement of the goals and objectives defined in the vision, mission, and goals of Georgia Public Schools;
  • provide a basis for instructional improvement through productive teacher performance appraisal and professional growth; and
  • implement a performance evaluation system that promotes collaboration between the teacher -evaluator and leader-evaluator and promotes self-growth, instructional effectiveness, and improvement of overall job performance.

Teacher Keys Evaluation System

As shown in the figure below, the Teacher Keys Evaluation System consists of three components which contribute to an overall Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM): Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS), measures of Student Growth and Academic Achievement, and Surveys of Instructional Practice.

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A definite formula for the contribution of each component to the TEM score will be determined at the completion of the pilot.

1.  Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS): TAPS provides evaluators with a qualitative, rubrics-based evaluation tool with which they can measure teacher performance relative to quality performance standards.

 Performance Standards

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Sample Performance Appraisal Rubric

2) Student Growth and Academic Achievement:

  • For teachers of tested subjects, this component consists of a student growth percentile model.
  • For teachers of non-tested subjects, this component consists of GaDOE-approved Student Learning Objectives utilizing district-determined achievement growth measures.

Example of a Student Learning Objective (SLO)

From August 2011 to April 1, 2012, 100% of first grade math students will improve their math fluency skills as measured by the System to Enhance Educational Performance (STEEP) Math Fluency Assessment for grade 1. Students will increase by at least one level or maintain from their pre-assessment score category to the following post-assessment score categories on the STEEP Math Fluency Test for grade 1: Frustration level will advance to Mastery level; Instructional level will advance to Mastery level; and Mastery level will maintain their current level.

3) Surveys of Instructional Practice: The surveys ask students to report on items that they have directly experienced.  There are four different versions of the student survey provided: K-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12. Students in K-2 and 3-5 will have the survey questions read aloud to them.  The sample survey questions below are examples for K-2 and 9-12.

Sample Survey Questions

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Leader Keys Evaluation System

As shown in the figure below, the Leader Keys Evaluation System consists of three components which contribute to an overall Leader Effectiveness Measure (LEM): Leader Assessment on Performance Standards (LAPS), measures of student Growth and Academic Achievement, and Governance and Leadership.

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A definite formula for the contribution of each component to the LEM score will be determined at the completion of the pilot.

1.  Leader Assessment on Performance Standards: This component provides evaluators with a qualitative, rubrics-based evaluation tool with which they can measure leader performance related to quality performance standards.

Performance Standards

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Sample Performance Appraisal Rubric

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2) Student Growth and Academic Achievement: This component consists of a student growth percentile/value-added measure which will be determined by the conclusion of the pilot, a district-determined, GaDOE-approved Student Learning Objective growth measure, and a measure of the reduction in the achievement gap.  These measures will be calculated at the school level.

3.) Governance and Leadership:  This component currently consists of a climate survey, student attendance, and measure of the retention of effective teachers.  Sample questions from the climate survey that will be completed by teachers are given below.

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Induction Process for Teachers and Leaders

Georgia’s vision as set forth in the RT3 application is posted on the Georgia Department of Education’s RT3 webpage:

“To equip all Georgia students, through effective teachers and leaders and through creating the right conditions in Georgia’s schools and classrooms, with the knowledge and skills to empower them to: graduate from high school, be successful in college and/or professional careers, and be competitive with their peers throughout the United States and the world.”

At the heart of the RT3 plan is increasing the overall effectiveness of teachers and leaders.  Their effectiveness is a critical factor in increasing student growth and raising student achievement.

The Induction guidance for new teachers and new principals were developed by a cross-disciplinary induction task force as a component of Georgia’s Race to the Top initiative through a partnership with GaDOE and the Professional Standards Commission.  The establishment of teacher and principal induction guidance has provided a basic framework and flexibility.  This allows districts to develop differentiated induction programs tailored to specific district needs to support the continuous professional growth of induction phase teachers and principals.

Additionally, the 26 RT3 districts collaborated with the GaDOE in: assessing current induction practices in their districts, reviewing the draft induction phase teacher and principal guidelines, and identifying next steps to revise or develop quality induction programs during an onsite visit.  RT3 school districts are required to develop and implement (2012-2013) teacher and principal induction programs using these guidelines.

A comprehensive induction program is a combination of mentoring, professional learning and support, and formal assessment for new teachers during at least their first two years of teaching.  Through these visits, high-quality induction practices and resources are being identified and shared among districts.  In fact, regional induction collaboration sessions which will include Higher Ed, RESA and RT3 districts were held in January-February 2012.  These sessions evolved from districts expressing an interest in learning from and sharing with each other.

High quality principal induction can stop the exodus from the principal’s office, maintain continuity in improvement efforts for teachers, thus encouraging teachers to stay and strive to get better, ultimately leading to sustained improvements in instruction and student learning over time and at scale.  Additionally, teachers are the most important school-related factor in determining student success.  Research shows that intensive, mentor-based induction programs can significantly reduce teacher turnover and help teacher to focus on improving instruction.  The key seems to lie in the level of success teachers encounter in raising their student’s academic performances.  For this reason, giving teachers the supports necessary to succeed is critical. Teacher Success=Student Success.

Re-imagine the possibilities of a state where students are discovering the joy of learning and teachers and leaders are rediscovering the joy of learning and teaching! Georgia districts have an opportunity to create what Georgia teachers and leaders need to have a positive impact on improving student achievement. This will be accomplished by accelerating teacher and leader effectiveness through quality induction programs.

The draft guidelines were posted online and received public comment through December 30, 2011.  Induction Task Force members considered public comments and recommendations for the final version of the teacher and leader induction guidance documents.  Click on the links to read the guidance documents.

Teacher Induction Guidance

Principal Induction Guidance

Induction Task Force Members

 

UTeach

Through a competition open to universities across the state, Columbus State University, University of West Georgia and Southern Polytechnic State University were awarded grants of up to $1.4 million to replicate the UTeach program, a highly successful math and science teacher preparation program at the University of Texas at Austin.  Funds for these grants were included in Georgia’s RT3 plan and awards were made in June 2011.

The UTeach program was established in 1997 at the University of Texas at Austin as a new and improved way to introduce undergraduate math and science majors to secondary school teaching.  By offering compact degree plans, early teaching experiences, guidance by expert master teachers, and financial assistance for undergraduate students, UTeach provides a platform for raising the quantity and quality of mathematics, science, and computer science teachers in secondary schools.

UTeach certifies more than 80 students every year at the University of Texas at Austin.  More than 90 percent of these UTeach graduates immediately go on to teach in their respective fields, and over 80 percent continue five years or more after starting, compared to only 60 percent nationally.  Additionally, almost half of UTeach graduates teach in schools where more than 50 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunch.  The UTeach Institute, in partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative, was created to expand and replicate UTeach at universities across the United States. Georgia officials worked closely with the UTeach Institute throughout the grant competition to assist universities in developing strong proposals and to select the winners.