Kentucky Department of Education’s new Teacher Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) was a topic for discussion at a meeting of the Harlan Independent Board of Education on Monday.
Hoping every student will have the opportunity to be taught by an effective teacher and that every school will be led by an effective principal is what the PGES plans to accomplish. The goal is to create a fair and equitable system to measure teacher and leader effectiveness and act as a catalyst for professional growth.
The system will consist of multiple measures of student growth and achievement, as well as components to measure leadership, professionalism, instruction, learning climate and assessment practices.
“This system will be significant for our staff and for our administration,” said Johnson. “The key thing for education achievement is teachers — having good teachers in the classrooms. This is the driving force behind this system.”
A framework established for teaching through this system are planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, professional responsibilities and student growth.
“In Kentucky’s system, we’ll have six ways of measuring those five standards,” said Johnson. “There’s going to be observation, which we are used to, where an administrator goes in and does observation, but also peer observation where fellow teachers go in and observe another teacher teaching. There will be a measurement for professional growth, which we currently have a professional growth plan, for self reflection where a teacher will have an opportunity to reflect on their own work. Then a unique part of this system will be student voice, where students will be surveyed and ask about their classroom experience. It’s been found that student voice is one of the greatest correlations between our student’s opinion about what is going on in the classroom and student achievement.”
Johnson said in the GPES there is a new training program for principals called Teachscape, which is an unfunded mandate and will cost $349 per person to participate.
“This is an online training system and at the end of the training principals will take a test,” said Johnson. “We are being told the training will take approximately 30-40 hours and the test could last at least six hours each for the two tests required.”
Johnson continued by saying he, principals at the elementary and high schools, along with assistant principals and some staff members from central office will participate in the Teachscape training system.
“Not all principals have passed this test,” said Johnson. “If you have a principal who can’t evaluate, some school systems are saying you can’t be a principal.”
Board Chairman Joe Meadors asked how this system will affect tenure.
“How it is set up is that all non-tenured teachers will go through this every year,” said Johnson. “You ought to be able to see clearly if you have someone who is not effective and you’re not going to be able to keep them. However, this will not change the tenure law.”
Saying in the 2013-2014 school year all school districts across the state will be mandated to participate in a piloted PGES, Johnson said he feels it’s “better to get everyone involved and learn the system” before they actually have to begin using it as an evaluation system in 2014-2015.
“Beginning next year, the high school will have three teachers they will evaluate and the elementary school will have two teachers,” said Johnson. “In the middle/high school we’ll do an English, math and a special education teacher and at the elementary we’ll do two regular classroom teachers. The following year it goes live for everybody. At that point the system will be fully implemented and all teachers will fall under this system.”
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