SA sets teacher evaluation model

    South Adams Schools will implement a new plan for teacher evaluations as mandated by the state beginning with the 2012-13 school year.
    Superintendent Scott Litwiller said at Tuesday's board meeting that a committee of teachers and administrators has been working on the plan, but that the South Adams plan "is a modification of the Indiana Department of Education's RISE Teacher Evaluation model."
    Because the South Adams teacher evaluation plan differs from the state's, it requires a 75 percent favorable vote by teachers before it can be implemented.
    The state mandates that teacher evaluations be annual, include student academic and growth data and include four performance level rating categories: Highly effective, effective, improvement necessary and ineffective.
    The two major components of the South Adams plan include: 1) that a primary qualified professional evaluate the professional practice of teachers with the Teacher Effectiveness Rubric and 2) that student learning be measured by student-learning objectives and school-wide learning measures. The combination of the two equals the "summative evaluation rating."
    Summative teacher evaluation scoring includes 75 percent from the Teacher Effectiveness Rubric (observations/documentation), 20 percent from the student learning objectives data from one class in one course, and five percent from the school-wide learning measure data (the schools' A-F score). There will also be an end-of-the-year summative evaluation conference.
    The difference between the state's RISE model and the South Adams model for evaluations is that RISE has three groups of teachers for summative scoring while South Adams has one group for summative scoring.
    Evaluation steps include student learning objectives, a beginning-of-the-year conference and classroom observations. The minimum requirements for classroom observations are 40 minutes in length for an "extended" observation for all teachers. Teachers who have been at the school for fewer than five years will have one extended classroom observation per semester. Teachers who have been at the school for more than five years will have an extended observation once per year, before February 1, and then as requested by the teacher or the principal.
    "Short" classroom observation will be a minimum of 10 minutes in length and will be held three times per year, a minimum of one per semester. Written feedback for extended classroom observations will be given to the teacher within five days, and within two days for a short observation.
    Other evaluation steps include a mid-year conference and the teacher's professional practice, scored with Teacher's Effectiveness Rubric. The effectiveness rubric score is based 75 percent on instruction, 15 percent on leadership and 10 percent on planning.
    Also a factor in the evaluation is core professionalism which includes attendance, on-time arrival, following policies and procedures and demonstrating respect.
    Litwiller noted, "This [new plan for teacher evaluations] will require more time in the classrooms for the principals and more time giving teachers feedback."