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North Adams schools have begun the process of implementing a state-mandated process of evaluating teachers and principals, with the framework required to be in place for the 2012-13 school year.
Superintendent Wylie Sirk reported at Tuesday evening's board of education meeting that the new state law ultimately will link student performance with the mandated evaluations, and that the upper tier of educators will be eligible for pay hikes based on those performance levels.
By law, Sirk said, teachers must be included in the process of drawing up the evaluation guidelines, and a vote of the teaching staff is necessary for the implementation of those rules. He said staff members currently designed to serve as evaluators are building principals and vice principals, although that group could be expanded in the future to include lead teachers and department heads.
The superintendent also said the state is currently offering grants that would provide additional "merit pay" for those teachers and principals who are determined to reach the highest of four evaluation classifications: Highly Effective and Effective. North Adams will apply for grant funding by the end of the year, he said.
"This (evaluation process) requires a lot of training and a lot of work for administrators, but they've stepped up" and embraced the changes, Sirk said.