In order to make the new system of evaluating educators work– to improve instructional practices in classrooms– three ingredients are needed. These same ingredients– time, trust, and guidance– are required elements in most change initiatives. Let’s look at how they apply to implementing Massachusetts’ new system of educator evaluation.
Time is needed to learn anything, and the complexity of this new system demands a lot of attention. Local districts have chosen to provide extra time to teachers in several ways. Pioneer Valley Regional Schools, with support from their teacher’s union, extended the state’s recommended due dates for submitting specific forms. The extra time made it more likely that teachers would complete a realistic assessment of their strengths and also created opportunities for teachers to align their own SMART goals with team, school, and district goals. Another district allotted a portion of common planning time for drafting team goals together; a third devoted its extended days to crafting educator plans. Providing extra time increases the likelihood that implementation will be thoughtful and effective, and, perhaps more importantly, reduces anxiety.
In all our evaluation system trainings for administrators, we address the time issue head-on, providing models for how admin teams can build work time into their action plans.
Coming soon: The importance of trust and guidance