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MISD adopts new teacher evaluation model

The Mercer Island School District has adopted a new teacher evaluation system, replacing its former approach with the Charlotte Danielson “Framework for Teaching” model. The decision was made last year and approved at the School Board’s June 25 meeting.

So far, the new framework has been discussed by both teachers and administrators in training sessions. Response to the new model, according to Associate Superintendent Kathy Morrison, has been positive.

“Framework for Teaching” focuses on three main points: teacher differentiation, collaboration and affirmation, Morrison explained to board members last Thursday. More specifically, the system “ensures dialogue and collegiality among staff through a repeating cycle of goal-setting, planning, taking action, gathering evidence, evaluating and reflecting.”

“Our goal is to put the best possible teacher before each kid,” Morrison said.

“Framework for Teaching” is a research-based model that adheres to the New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards. The evaluation focuses on four domains of teaching responsibility: planning and preparation; classroom environment; instruction; and professional responsibilities. It is designed to facilitate conversation between educators and their superiors, as well as help teachers become “more thoughtful practitioners.”

“Personally, I like the change,” said Island Park first-grade teacher Jan Vetter. “The [self-assessment worksheets] go specifically to different areas in the curriculum that make you stop and really think.”

Vetter, who has taught at Island Park for more than 15 years, feels that the new system is “mutually respectful” to teachers and their evaluating administrators.

“It gives us plenty of time to reflect, so we can later discuss our thoughts with administrators,” she said. “The old system was much more limiting.”

The new teacher evaluation model is the result of a 2007 bargaining agreement between the School District and the Mercer Island Education Association. Members of both parties spent hours reviewing the former system and developing recommendations before presenting the Charlotte Danielson model to the School Board for approval.

In August, teachers and administrators met for training on the new model.

According to state law, a certified teacher must be evaluated on seven standards — knowledge of subject matter, instructional skills, professional preparation and scholarship, classroom management, student discipline, continuous effort toward improvement, and interest in teaching pupils — every three years. As long as a district follows these standards, it may adopt its own evaluation system. Many Washington districts have streamlined the process by adopting a version of the Charlotte Danielson model.

For more information on the “Framework for Teaching” model, visit the district Web site: www.misd.k12.wa.us

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