School Counselors Measure Student Growth in Worcester

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany thanks to the Worcester County Guidance and Personnel Association, who invited me to speak to their monthly gathering.  Thanks to preparation support from Gwynne Morrissey, I was able to clarify misapprehensions for the 45 counselors in attendance and share completed DDMs written by peers in the Pioneer Valley. Viewing these examples helped counselors envision what is possible and see that the end product need not be long or overly complex. Guidance Successful Transitions DDM; Common App DDM; SelfControl SelfRegulation DDM

Apparently, many of their misunderstandings spring from trainings that presented conflicting information. They’ve heard from DESE, outside vendors, and district leaders. These misunderstandings concern not only DDMs, but core components of the educator evaluation system as well.

The counselors in attendance are doing important work with their students: one team is teaching the signs of suicide and how to address the topic. They measure student growth meaningfully when they seek to discover how much students have learned from their lessons about suicide prevention.

I emphasized the importance of measuring what counselors and their schools care most about while capturing data that is useful for improving their instruction.

ESE Funds the Construction of Strong DDMs

CES  is one of six collaboratives awarded a grant by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to build hiGymnasts.UC_.Berkeleygh-quality student growth measures in specific subjects.

Our work at CES will focus on two content areas: History/Social Studies and Physical Education/Health. We will work with teachers from our member districts as well as interested, qualified educators from around the state. Initial invitations will be sent by the month’s end. Please contact me with questions or suggestions.

That First Step: Jumping in to Student and Staff Feedback

Aaron Feuer of Panorama Education, speaking with a group of curriculum directors at CES last week, provided a range of options and recommendations for districts beginning to survey staff and students.

  • Opt-in model: teachers who want to participate may, they can control who they share the data with.  The district administers surveys for use at school and district-wide level, while the classroom-level data are emailed to each teacher, but they don’t have to open it. (Some teachers opt into surveys when they find it to be more positive than observation data.) District leaders can choose to use these data for PD—here’s how our students see us; how do we move forward?
  • Start with staff feedback only this year. Benefits: Principals model the feedback process, make it less threatening, prepare the ground, eases tensions, and set the stage for student surveys.
  • Most important: trust between teacher and evaluator in looking at student feedback

Do you have another solution for launching student and staff feedback?  Will any of the options described above work for your district?

Moving Ahead with Student and Staff Feedback

Beginning this school year, evidence used in the evaluation process must include student feedback (for teachers) and staff feedback (for administrators). For more details, please read Part VIII of the Model System or this Quick Reference Guide.

One important decision for districts is whether to use student surveys across the district, educator-selected instruments, or some combination of the two approaches.

Districts also have choices about how to use the survey results. Districts may choose to only allow teachers, and not district administrators, to view survey results.  Teachers would then be expected to incorporate evidence gleaned from the surveys into their self-assessment and goal-setting.

The Collaborative can help with the student and staff feedback in several ways. First, we offer a workshop on the topic November 19. We are bringing outside expertise to the Pioneer Valley.  Aaron Feuer, CEO of Panorama Education, the state’s chosen vendor for survey data aggregation, will speak to our Curriculum Director PLC  September 19 and at the Technology in Education Conference on January 15. In addition, we will provide tech support to districts interested in independently aggregating survey data.

Handy Guide to Teacher Performance Rubric

It’s a year or two into the state’s new evaluation system, and districts are identifying practices and tools that smooth the  process.

One such tool is the Educator Evaluation Tour Gutour guideide, developed by curriculum directors and the Collaborative for Educational Services here in the Pioneer Valley. Sales of the Tour Guide, which presents the standards and indicators in a colorful flipbook format, have topped 2,300 copies.

For each of 33 elements, the Tour Guide includes the language of proficiency, what proficient practice might look like, and suggestions for artifacts.

Collaborative for Educational Services