New York City will double money for training teachers

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New York City will double money for training teachers
NY Daily News
Starting in June, New York City will more than double its funding for teacher training, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said.

Officials have set aside about $100 million to help prepare teachers for more difficult Common Core standards that were introduced on new state math and reading exams this spring. School leaders welcomed the news of more money for teacher training.

“It’s fantastic,” said Bronx Public School 304 Principal Joseph Nobile. “Professional development helps the teachers. Without it, we’re a boat without any oars.

Learning Forward 5/20/13

What is happening to changes to Professional Development for the schools in your area?

The Changing Role of Principals in US Schools

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Principals are the key factor in building and sustaining a school culture in which both teachers and students can succeed. Over the last decade, research has established the empirical link between school leadership and improved student achievement, and policy and practice have focused much attention on the role of the principal and what makes a principal effective.20 In addition to their role as instructional leaders helping to develop good teaching, effective principals are also collaborators, cultivating the leadership of teachers and others in their schools. Excerpt from a MetLife Survey of “The American Teacher, Challenges for School Leadership” (read more…)

Teacher Evaluation – Across the U.S.

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Teacher Evaluation – Across the U.S.

L.A. teacher-evaluation plan focuses on growth

The Los Angeles Unified School District is getting ready to test a new teacher-evaluation system designed to raise student performance by increasing teacher quality. The district’s Teacher Growth & Development Cycle will use a combination of classroom observations, parent meetings, lesson plans and student test scores to evaluate teachers’ strengths and weaknesses and help them improve. “We’re taking the evaluation from an event, which is often seen as punitive and unhelpful, to a process that is about growth and development,” said Drew Furedi, chief of L.A.’s talent management division. Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek. Calif.), (7/12) ASCD SmartBrief 7/16

Administrators face evaluation in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Unified School District has reached an agreement with a union that represents the city’s 1,500 principals and assistant principals to evaluate administrators, based in part on students’ achievement. The one-year agreement, announced Tuesday, does not specify how much weight will be given to students’ achievement data and allows for the consideration of standardized test scores, Advanced Placement data and other measures. The district is still in negotiations with teachers over a similar evaluation system. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (9/11) SmartBrief today

L.A. schools, union reach accord on teachers’ evaluations

Los Angeles Unified School District officials have reached an agreement with the local teachers union on a plan to use students’ test scores as part of teachers’ evaluations. Under the deal, individual and schoolwide test scores, as well as other data, would be factored into teachers’ evaluations. However, it is still unclear how much students’ test scores will be a factor in assessing teachers. The Wall Street Journal (11/30), Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (11/30)

L.A. teachers, superintendent disagree on evaluations

Los Angeles Schools superintendent John Deasy released a memo on Friday calling for as much as 30% of teachers’ evaluations to be based on students’ test scores. However, the United Teachers Los Angeles has said there should be no fixed percentage and its president, Warren Fletcher, expressed concern about Deasy’s memo, pointing out that Deasy recently agreed to a pact with teachers that took the set percentage off the table. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (2/16) ASCD SmartBrief 2/18/13

LA teachers vote in favor of evaluation system relying on raw state test scores and district assessments. District has not decided what % f the evaluation will be based on student test scores. HechingerEd Blog, The Hechinger Report 2/18/13

Fla. principal-evaluation system is focused on student achievement

Florida school officials have announced a new evaluation system for principals that will make school leaders more directly responsible for increasing student achievement through data analysis and staff development. Half of a principal’s evaluation now will be based on instructional and operational leadership, professional behavior and student achievement. The other 50% will be based on such school-wide data as student scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The Ledger (Lakeland. Fla.) (8/2) ASCD SmartBrief  (read more…)

Data drives learning for teachers and students

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Data drives learning for teachers and students.

By Denise Tome

As told to Valerie von Frank

We developed a six-year strategic plan with a steering committee of 35 stakeholders who reviewed research on 21st-century learning and the future of education and then created a district vision, mission statement, and set of beliefs that formed the basis for the plan. Our mission is: ‘We will create an environment that will help students become problem solvers, collaborators, and critical thinkers. The goal is moving students forward, and professional development drives that.

I contacted Learning Forward and learned about the Standards Assessment Inventory. We began using it in spring 2010, and we got a pulse for professional development in the district. We found out we had pockets of strengths and areas for improvement.  (read more…)

Data – Meaningful analysis can rescue schools from drowning in data.

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DATA Meaningful analysis can rescue schools from drowning in data.

By Douglas R Reeves and Tony Flach

Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning have the potential to influence educational policy and practice in profound ways for the systems that are courageous enough to take them seriously; the Data standard is a critical element system wide. Schools are overwhelmed with data warehouses, colorful charts and graphs, and endless PowerPoint presentations. The millions of dollars that governments at all levels are investing in data systems will be wasted unless significantly greater attention is paid to the systematic evaluation of teaching and leadership decisions based on data However, in many schools, the availability of data is inversely proportional to meaningful analysis. The reality is that many common practices substitute the appear­ance of data analysis for the reality of substantive analysis

To realize the achievement of the Data standard, we offer three imperatives for school leaders and policymakers. First, close the implementation gap for professional learning standards. To close the gap between the aspirations expressed in the standards documents and the reality of educational systems, leaders at every level must hold themselves accountable for the implementation of the standards. Second, change accountability from an evaluation system, linked to punishments and rewards to a learning system. Feedback for improved performance has a greater impact on morale and productivity than the use of the same data for financial incentives alone. We recognize the present political reality that data will be used for economic incentives; we are suggesting, however, that the massive investment that educational systems are making in data systems could be used for far more constructive purposes. Third, change data system investment strategy from one that disproportionately allocates resources to hardware, software, and data warehouses to new strategies that disproportionately allocate resources of money and time to data analysis and decision-making processes. With these emphases, the Standards for Professional Learning will have the opportunity to influence student learning and improve teaching and leadership effectiveness. Without these imperatives, however, teachers and leaders will continue to be drowning in data but failing to have the time, professional learning, and leadership support to use data to improve teaching and learning.

CLOSING THE IMPLEMENTATION GAP

Consider the fate of academic content standards over the past two decades. In some schools, standards formed the basis of new curricula, teaching methods, assessments, and grading systems. When the work of students was compared to a clear and objective standard rather than to that of other students, both academic achievement and educational equity improved. Standards-based education allowed researchers from multiple perspectives to document sustained improvements in a variety of schools. Marzano  and Hattie provide meta-analytical approaches that offer compelling evidence of the impact on student achievement when students have learning goals that are explicit and teachers provide accurate and specific feedback to improve performance related to those learning goals. Hattie in particular describes the power of feedback from formative assessments. Teachers use the formative assessments to provide meaningful recommendations for improved performance to students as well as using that feedback to understand the effectiveness of their instructional practices. Hargreaves and Shirley and Fullan complement that research with case studies of sustainable system reform, while Anderson links specific gains in student achievement to comprehensive and consistent data analysis. Certainly the standards movement alone was not responsible for all of these improvements; when the right “constellation of practices” came together, improvement was significant and sustained. The last study, including an analysis of student results over three years in more than 2,000 schools, suggested that of 21 teaching and leadership practices observed, effective monitoring of student, teacher, and leadership data was significantly more powerful than other variables, particularly when effective monitoring was combined with leadership focus and teacher efficacy. The research suggests that student success is possible with the right combination of teaching and leadership strategies, and standards for professional learning play an integral role.

STANDARDS ARE NOT ENOUGH

Unfortunately, these success stories are overshadowed by the number of instances in which standards were merely adopted by governing boards and never implemented at the classroom level. Two decades after the dawn of the voluntary standards movement and one decade after No Child Left Behind required all states to have academic content standards supported by standards-based assessments, there remain an astonishing number of schools where instruction and assessment are indistinguishable from 1991. Despite a blizzard of standards, pacing guides, and mandates from federal, state, and local education policymakers, the fact remains that the same performance by the same student can yield wildly different evaluations based solely upon the idiosyncratic judgment of individual classroom teachers, the antithesis of what standards-based assessment should be. Data about the effectiveness of professional development strategies and the implementation of academic standards were the missing links. Leaders and policymakers have the opportunity to learn from the past and immediately begin monitoring the effectiveness of data analysis practices, to begin using data on data to improve learning.

Similarly, data systems have proliferated. Indeed, it is difficult to find a school that does not profess to have teachers and administrators “looking at data.” Given the avalanche of data coming from state and local sources, one cannot avoid “looking at” the data. The question is what teachers and administrators are doing with it.  (read more …)