LACEY - Teachers and principals will be evaluated in a new way in two years, as the state launches a pilot project that will result in more-detailed evaluations.
North Thurston will be one of eight districts and one educational service district that will develop and pilot the new system over the next two school years, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Legislature adopted the changes this year to increase the state’s chances with the federal Race to the Top program, which would provide additional funding for states that adopted certain education reforms.
Changes in teacher and principal evaluation systems will include the introduction of a four-level evaluation ranking, instead of a two-tiered satisfactory/unsatisfactory system that most districts use.
Michaela Miller, teacher and principal evaluation project manager with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in an interview last week that the new evaluations and the pilot programs will also help districts know how to help teachers and principals improve.
“This is about supporting professionals to achieve the highest standards,” she said. “It’s not about a piece of paper at the end of the day with the boxes checked.”
After the new evaluations are developed, the public will be able to see evaluation information for each school and district, but not for an individual teacher, Miller said. How that data will be presented also will be determined through the pilot project.
State superintendent Randy Dorn is scheduled to recommend one or more evaluation systems to the state Legislature by 2012.
The pilot districts will spend the next two years designing and testing the system, which all districts are slated to adopt by the 2013-14 school year, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Districts will receive between $100,000 and about $180,000 a year for the two years of the pilot, according to OSPI.
North Thurston district spokeswoman Courtney Schrieve said that North Thurston applied to be part of the pilot program because the system will be required of all districts in a few years.
North Thurston and seven other districts are directly participating in the pilot program. Educational Service District 101 in Eastern Washington also is participating, and covers the eight smaller districts. Statewide, 48 districts applied to be part of the pilot, and the pilot districts were chosen on the basis of demographics and the willingness of administrators, principals and teachers to collaborate on the project.
These districts will work with the state, the local teachers unions, the Washington State PTA, the Washington Education Association, the Association of Washington School Principals and the Washington Association of School Administrators, according to the legislation passed earlier this year.
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