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Teaching & Classroom
May 25, 2016
Indianapolis Public Schools picks the Danielson Framework to evaluate teachers
The new model will roll out this fall.
February 26, 2014
5 lessons from Chalkbeat's event on teacher evaluations by video
Two video clips of classroom teaching that together lasted just over four minutes fueled an hourlong discussion about teacher observations at Chalkbeat's event Tuesday evening. Here are our takeaways.
February 14, 2014
For 20 percent of city teachers, observations come after a film screening
New York City is one of 10 districts in the state that lets teachers decide whether administrators can base their observations on a videotape rather than a classroom visit. Twenty percent of teachers have authorized the option, which is the topic of a Chalkbeat/New America NYC event Feb. 25.
September 12, 2013
Picking My Classroom Observation Poison
As I delved into the details of the observation options to decide which I would choose for my teacher evaluation this year, I came to the conclusion that the matter of observations resembles a Hobson’s choice: an ostensibly free choice in which only true option is offered.
July 11, 2013
As trainings start, a new name for new teacher evals: Advance
Love it, hate it, or reserve judgment — just don't call it "the city's new teacher evaluation system." The Department of Education has a new name for the evaluation system that State Education Commissioner John King imposed on the city a month ago: Advance. The name, which comes with a snazzy logo, got its first public airing today as the department launched a series of summer training sessions aimed at preparing schools to begin implementing the evaluation system this fall. The department held five training sessions across the city today and plans to hold 53 total before the end of next month. At Brooklyn Law School, where administrators and teachers from 32 schools convened, department officials said they had decided to give the evaluation system a name to communicate the purpose of the changes. The new system will help teachers advance professionally, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said, and it is also an advance from the system that was in place until now.
June 3, 2013
What King decreed, Part I: Danielson, observations, and video
Over the past 48 hours since State Education Commissioner John King set a new teacher evaluation system for New York City, both sides in the dispute have sought to position themselves as winners. First out of the gate was the Bloomberg administration, which compiled a chart outlining its victories and boasted about publicly. But, as union officials argued in an email highlighting their own "wins," it was a cherry-picked list. King imposed the plan after reviewing policy papers (that still have not been made public) and hearing hours of testimony last week. In his written explanation of his decision, he summarized where the two sides differed and where they occasionally agreed — and where he sometimes disagreed with both of them. We've rounded up some of the biggest disputes and how King settled them. In the first part of the roundup, we look at King's decisions on issues relating to teacher observations, which will count for 60 percent of teachers' scores next year. Version of the Danielson rubric Outcome: DOE win One of the only issues, it seemed, that the city and the union could agree on when it came to observations was which rubric to base them on. It turns out they lacked consensus even there.
November 28, 2012
Even if deal on teacher evals is reached, logistical matters loom
Negotiations between the city and teachers union over new teacher evaluations appear likely to come down to the wire yet again. Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would withdraw increased state aid from any district that does not negotiate a teacher evaluation system with its union by Jan. 17, 2013. As the deadline nears, state education officials have said repeatedly that they need weeks to review systems that are submitted for approval. Districts should submit plans by the first week of December, they have urged. Most districts have responded to the urgency. About 85 percent of New York State's 700 school districts have turned in at least the first draft of required teacher evaluation plans, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said today. In New York City, where $300 million in state aid is at stake this year, city officials say they feel confident that they will reach a deal before Cuomo's deadline, and union leaders say constructive discussions are back on track after a nearly monthlong hiatus following Hurricane Sandy. But both said there is significant ground yet to cover. Comparing the introduction of new teacher evaluations to a 26.2-mile marathon, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said on Tuesday, "We're at mile five, and our goal is to make this a long-distance run."
September 13, 2012
City says teachers improved during pilot observation process
Distribution, by effectiveness rating, of 300 teachers who were part of a two-year observation pilot. City teachers got better when they participated in a two-year teacher evaluation pilot program, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today. Of 300 teachers who were observed and given systematic feedback multiple times for consecutive years, the number with the lowest rating on a four-tiered evaluation system fell by half and the number with the highest rating more than doubled. Officials said the trends were evidence that when used correctly, a citywide evaluation system would help teachers improve. The teachers were among 5,000 who participated last year in the city's Teacher Effectiveness Pilot, in which some schools practiced using a style of teacher observations called the Danielson Framework. The model is a way of advising and assessing teachers based on multiple observations throughout the year and is seen as likely to count for a significant component of teachers' annual ratings in the future. Walcott announced the numbers during an address at the Schools for Tomorrow conference hosted by the New York Times. His speech centered on the city's efforts to boost teacher quality and took a gentler tone about the purpose of teacher evaluations at a time when city and union officials are expressing optimism about reaching a deal on instituting a new evaluation system. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will withhold some state aid from districts that have not adopted new teacher evaluations by January 2013. "Across all categories, from the weakest to the strongest, we saw teacher improvement," Walcott said during his address. "It’s time to bring these results to every student in every school through a citywide evaluation deal."
February 6, 2012
School leaders share Danielson concerns at union-led trainings
Teachers brainstorm where features of the ideal classroom fit into the Danielson Framework's four domains. Training sessions about a classroom observation model opened up dialogue between teachers and principals this month, even after becoming a flashpoint in the city and teachers union's ongoing conflict over a new evaluation system. The city and union planned to host trainings on the teaching model the city hopes to adopt for its new evaluation system together. But after Mayor Bloomberg ratcheted up rhetoric against the union in the State of the City address, the union cut city officials out of the planning. The sessions began two weeks ago, drawing hundreds of attendees even after the Department of Education emailed principals informing them that the sessions were off. I spent an afternoon last week at a training session at the United Federation of Teachers' Bronx headquarters, where well over 100 union chapter leaders and their principals were receiving a crash-course on the Danielson Framework, a classroom observation model that serves as one component of the city's proposed evaluation system. The city has encouraged principals to practice using the Danielson Framework when conducting informal classroom observations this school year, and 140 schools have been piloting the observation model more formally. As an impasse over new teacher evaluations has deepened between the city and the UFT, a tension has emerged about whether the model is meant first to help teachers improve — the union’s position — or whether it is a tool to help principals usher weak teachers out of the system, as the city’s rhetoric has sometimes suggested. Catalina Fortino, the UFT’s vice president of education, said the purpose of the training sessions is to foster "a shared understanding" of the model for teachers and principals — an understanding that the city’s pilot of the Danielson framework had failed to develop, she said.
January 19, 2012
No longer joint between UFT and city, Danielson trainings go on
A training session about the city's favored teacher evaluation model went off as planned on Tuesday — but without the involvement of the city, which had worked with the teachers union on event. Since the start of the school year, the union and city have been grappling over the Danielson Framework, the observation model the city hopes will be adopted when a new evaluation system is finalized. Over time, a tension has emerged about whether the model is meant first to help teachers improve — the union's position — or whether it is a tool to help principals usher weak teachers out of the system, as the city's rhetoric has sometimes suggested. Since at least December, the city and teachers union had been planning joint training sessions for principals and union chapter leaders to clarify the model's purpose and value. But after Mayor Bloomberg lashed out at the United Federation of Teachers during his State of the City speech last week, declaring that he would remove half of the teachers at 33 low-performing schools, the union decided it would no longer work with the city on the trainings. "The content of the State of the City has not been received very well by members," Michael Mendel, a union secretary, told me Wednesday. "To do a joint training didn’t sit right." On Friday afternoon, union officials surprised the city by announcing that the collaboration was off.
September 7, 2011
P.S. 40 teachers prep for tougher evaluations by simulating them
Chancellor Dennis Walcott with PS 40 teachers during a training session. Teachers at Manhattan's P.S. 40 played students this morning, engaging in role plays, "turn-and-talks," and "sharebacks" to learn about the new way they will be evaluated this year. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott joined the teachers for a training session about Charlotte Danielson's "Framework for Teaching," the teacher evaluation model that principals are supposed to start using this year. Without an agreement between the city and teachers union on new teacher evaluation rules, teachers will still be judged as "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" at the end of the year. But the city has instructed principals to follow Danielson's framework — which divides teachers into four categories, from "highly effective" down to "ineffective" — when they conduct observations throughout the year, in conjunction with the rollout of new "common core" curriculum standards. “We’ve worked out some pieces with the UFT around the evaluation, but right now, my goal is to make sure we're having the training take place around the Common Core,” Walcott said. A group of five P.S. 40 teachers acted out a scripted classroom scene, with one “teacher” pushing her “students” to think critically about a nonfiction reading on Polynesian settlement in Hawaii. Walcott and the rest of the staff watched on and consulted yellow photocopied evaluation rubrics to see if the “teacher” should be judged highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective.
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