Ten School Districts Selected To Run Pilots Of Teacher Evaluation System
By KATHLEEN MEGAN
June 04, 2012
On Monday, State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor named the 10 school districts chosen for a $2.5 million pilot program of the state's new teacher and principal evaluation system.
Thirty-six districts — including groups of districts — applied to be part of the pilot program. Pryor said the 10 districts selected represent a cross-section of urban, rural and suburban districts as well as ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.
"This high level of interest clearly demonstrates that school districts are ready to contribute to the construction of a meaningful evaluation and support system," Pryor said. "In partnership with the state Department of Education, the work of pilot districts will inform our process and offer lessons learned for our statewide rollout next year."
Jeffrey Villar, superintendent of schools in Windsor — one of the districts selected — said he saw the pilot program as a chance to be "leaders, to be part of innovation and to improve performance. I think it's an opportunity for us to be in on the ground floor."
"We underperform," Villar added. "I think we are an area that's ripe for improvement. That's one of the reasons we are a good choice. We are a district that can absolutely show how this [evaluation] system can impact student performance."
The districts selected will run pilot programs during the 2012-2013 school year, with statewide implementation scheduled for the following school year.
Pryor said that at least two of the 10 districts have indicated that they may want to pursue their own models within the framework recommended by the state.
"We were looking for that variance," Pryor said. "We don't believe that we have a monopoly on the good ideas regarding evaluation."
He said districts will be allowed to adopt the state model or choose desirable elements while also innovating. The state must approve the model with its variation before a district goes forward with it.
One of the districts chosen for the pilot was not among the semi-finalists named last week. Pryor said that Branford was added to the list after the panel that developed the evaluation system — the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council — reviewed a list of semi-finalists and said last week that it did not include a middle-sized district.
The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council approved a framework for the teacher and principal evaluation systems in January. The council is now hammering out guidelines on the evaluation system that must be submitted to the state Board of Education in time for the board to consider them by July 1.
The school districts and consortiums of districts selected are:
•Bethany, Orange, and Woodbridge
•Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)
•Columbia, Eastford, Franklin, and Sterling
•Litchfield and Region 6
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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