Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bitter or Sweet? First Fruits of Teacher Evaluation in NY

Among many good things that took place for the Dobbs Ferry School District over this past year, the District was accepted as a member of the prestigious Tri-States Consortium. Founded in 1992, the Tri-States Consortium has developed an alternative assessment model designed to enhance student performance in high performing districts. In addition to providing extremely high quality professional development for teachers and administrators, the Tri-States Consortium offers site visit services to member districts as an alternative to Middle States Accreditation and other types of “monitoring.”

 This past spring, I had the pleasure of participating on a site visit team to the Bronxville Schools where our team was charged with looking for evidence of critical thinking skills across the curriculum. This was a new and unusual “take” on these types of school visits since the team was charged with corroborating evidence of 21st Century skills.

It was an enlightening experience. I know that I speak for all of us on the visiting team when I say that the learning goes in both directions whenever we have the opportunity to engage with a school system in such an intimate way. Bronxville allowed a “fearless look” at what is happening in their classrooms in an effort to support and sustain meaningful change.

During the 2013-2014 school year, Dobbs Ferry will begin to think about a Tri-States Consortium site visit for the 2014-2015 school year.  We will be sure to keep everyone informed as we move forward in this process.

Another advantage of our membership with Tri-States is our access to the consortium white papers and research documents. In the late spring, the group issued an extremely well articulated position on Teacher Evaluation.

As the new school year quickly approaches and the “first fruits” of the new teacher evaluation system in New York come to bear, gaining perspective and insight is critical.

And so I am hoping that you will find this Position Paper from the Tri-States Consortium helpful as we endeavor to make sense and meaning of this new “window” on teaching and learning.