Supervision and Evaluation Analysis

Body: 

1. Analyses and Problem Identification

In analyzing the teacher evaluation and professional development plan for a regional rural district in Connecticut, I found major discrepancies between how the plan was designed and how it is implemented. Specifically, there are weaknesses in how the administration uses the plan to affect teacher improvement. Two specific areas of weakness include:  The plan promotes student learning, but fails in implementation. The plan promotes teachers’ ability to meet the academic and social needs of learners who are culturally, linguistically and economically diverse, yet again the plan failes to consider these academic and social challenges.

While the plan states lofty goals of student achievement through teacher operation and goal setting, in practice the plan is a summative review of a few snapshots of teacher's work. In addition, these snapshots vary dramatically between administrator and teacher, as no common evaluation instruments are identified by the plan. The impact of this practice is students and teachers not progressing to higher levels of learning and teaching. One of the major shortcomings in the plan is accountability for administrators feedback to teachers, and the aforementioned evaluation instruments. In addition, the time constraints to fully implement the plan are overwhelming to many of the district administrators. 

It is worth pointing out that the consequences for teacher effectiveness and student learning are negligible with the current teaching staff and student population. Since the staff is high functioning, then many of the areas of weakness that could be addressed by this plan, if fully implemented, are non-existent. However, my fear is for new teachers, who lack the refined teaching skills to effectively improve student learning. More data should be collected to identify how new teachers perceive the plan, and how they are strengthened from the plan. 

In conclusion, I see two areas of weakness with the current teacher evaluation and professional development plan (See Appendix A for more information). 

  1. Observation Instruments and procedures are not present.
  2. Teacher feedback is not highlighted as part of the plan.

Addressing these weaknesses and shortcomings of the district professional growth and teacher evaluation plan will greatly improve student achievement. 

2. Strategic Leadership & Action Plan

Problem one: Observation Instruments and procedures are not present.

    The district will develop, in a committee made of teachers, supervisors, and district administrators, observation instruments. Since the building administrators who are responsible for observing classrooms are not given any tools to facilitate effective classroom observation, a variety of tools will be created specifically for this district to help teachers see areas of concern when they are teaching. Outside observers can be very valuable data collectors for teachers. Teachers need to have supervisors trained and able to collect meaningful data. This data becomes the basis for discussion on improving student learning by improving classroom instruction. Professional development plans will need to be created based on available research for effective classroom observation skills and instruments.
    To monitor progress on this problem, the superintendent will collect observation instruments, once developed anonymously. The building supervisors will remove any identifiable information and forward completed instruments to the superintendent. By having a reporting method and tracking the use of the newly created instruments, building supervisors will more likely use the instruments. In addition, at minimum, biannual surveys of the staff will evaluate their perceptions of the instruments and ask for feedback on the effectiveness of the instruments. As the process evolves there should be planning to allow the instruments created to be modified both at the district level and school level to meet individual teacher and administrator needs.
    It is expected that the following timeline will be followed to address this problem: May and June (2009), the committee will develop meaningful instruments for collecting unbiased observation data; July and Aug (2009) - Each building supervisor will receive training on the instruments used and how they will benefit their observation skills; Sept (2009), teachers will be observed with the instruments, and surveys of staff and administration will be given.

3. Teacher feedback is not highlighted as part of the plan

    The district administrative team will help building supervisors learn to give formative feedback in a non-threatening way to help teachers improve their teaching skills. It is the responsibility of building supervisors to help improve teaching skills, and likewise it is the district administration (superintendent and assistant superintendents) to help building administrators improve their administrative skills, including providing meaningful teacher feedback. Each higher level models the behavior for how the lower level of the organization functions. As building supervisors are given constructive formative evaluations and feedback, they improve their abilities to do the same for teachers.
    The systemic causes of lack of teacher feedback are numerous. A single cause of this breakdown would be difficult to determine and fix. However, since many of the building supervisors report they have limited time to complete the observation cycle within the professional growth plan, then a time consideration may be partially responsible for the lack of meaningful teacher feedback. In addition, building supervisors face the challenge of formative and summative evaluations. Summative evaluations have tremendous implications for teacher contract renewals (nontenured) and terminations (tenured). Due to these implications, meaningful feedback from observations may be prevented from occurring.
    The suggested method to help eliminate some of the systemic causes for infective feedback is to train all staff with objective observation skills. Consequently, every staff member regardless of position, will have professional development on gathering data during observations and using that data to provide feedback. This part of this action plan will need additional resources to train the staff and administration. 
    Progress toward teacher improvement via feedback will be monitored by a variety of methods. The superintendent will monitor professional development of the staff through reports generated during professional development training. Surveys following training, and after a sufficient time to implement the training, will gather data on how well the plan is being fulfilled. Finally, teacher lessons and lesson plans will be monitored for evidences of changes.
    The time-line for this plan contains four parts.

  1. May/June 2009 -Develop training
  2. July 2009 - Train building supervisors
  3. Sept 2009 - Train staff
  4. Oct 2009 - Begin observations and feedback

4. My reflections

    As I have created this plan I have constantly been analyzing the two professional growth plans I am most familiar with; my home school, and my internship site. I am constantly frustrated with my evaluators because they seem to spend less time helping me develop into a better teacher. However, I know that I have more skills to be less dependent and to improve myself. I must move away from direct control towards more collaboratively becoming a better teacher.
    I believe all teachers can always become better teachers. I also believe change is difficult. Without outside influences, such as a supervisor or a policy mandate, changing my teaching practices is almost non-existent. I know I could be a better teacher, and this activity has helped me begin that process. However, it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to see everything that happens during a class.
    By looking at a plan in through this assignment, I have also seen why sometimes practice is not aligned with policy. In reviewing the Professional Growth Plan, I see both the need for such a plan and the difficulty of completing the plan meaningfully. I have noticed many administrators have the official plan with all its accompanying paperwork, and an additional personal informal plan, to really get the data they need.
    By identifying problem areas and reflecting on solutions. I think I better understand how an administrator could feel pressured to skip certain parts. I also believe most administrators would gladly take more time to be in classes, but are constantly pulled out of classes. 
    The final part of the assignment was most difficult for me to complete because partly of my lack of experience in any programs like this situation. I found myself constantly checking the procedures of this assignment so it could be completed, when I could have used the time to hone my skills as a building supervisor. 
    In conclusion, the entire process was less helpful to me as a future administrator than I think it could have been. I think it would have been much better in my home school, as I am more familiar with it than my mentor site. Understanding this process of the plan, from problem identification to implementation, was valuable, as were many of the parts. I feel I have more resources to use should I find myself in a similar situation.

Appendix A - Strategic Action Plan

Regional suburban School District of Connecticut                                                                                                             

 

Identified

Problem

Action objectives

Systemic causes

Professional development plan

Resources needed

Evaluation plan

Time Line

Problem # 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Observation Instruments and procedure are not present

 The district will develop, in a committee made of teachers, supervisors, and district administrators, observation instruments

Missing from the plan 

 Train supervisors on the new instruments 

 Instruments to help supervisors evaluate areas of improvement for teachers

Superintendent will monitor use of instruments by survey of staff and supervisors

May/June 2009 - Develop meaningful instruments

July/Aug 2009 - Train supervisors

Sept 2009 Implement

Problem # 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher feedback is not highlighted as part of the plan 

The district administrative team will help building supervisors learn to give formative feedback in a non-threatening way to help teachers improve their teaching skills 

Building Supervisors lack of time. Teachers fear of needing improvement means not performing their jobs/resentment of feedback

 Everyone in the district trained on observation procedures, including constructive feedback given for formative evaluations 

Committee to develop PD for the district

Time to train everyone

Time to implement plan

Ongoing evaluation of teacher observation data for evidence of improved feedback. 

Survey staff throughout the year for its feedback

May/June 2009 -Develop training

July - Train building supervisors

Sept - Train staff

Oct - Begin observations and feedback


Metrics
a) The action objectives to be achieved based on each problem identified. 
b) Systemic causes of identified problem based on research and theory. 
c) Research based professional development plan to improve student learning and teacher effectiveness. 
d) The resources needed to support teachers’ application of professional development. 
e) An evaluation plan to monitor progress toward success indicators. 

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