Board learns about teacher effectiveness

With the state Department of Education unrolling its new teacher evaluation system, a presentation at Wednesday’s Loyalsock Township School Board tried to explain how educators will be scored.

Cori Cotner, director of educational planning for Intermediate Unit 17, explained that although the system will be effective this school year, the entire rating system will not be used. It will be completely unveiled starting in the 2015-16 school year.

This year’s evaluation will be based 85 percent on observation/evidence data, which will allow an administration team member to observe a classroom lesson along with discussing planning and effectiveness with the teacher.

The other 15 percent of the score will be based on building level data. The new PA School Performance Profile, which gives each individual school building a score out of 100, will be used to determine this, Cotner explained.

In 2014-15, observation will move to 50 percent, and elective data will make up 35 percent of the score. Elective data allows teachers to create objectives before the school year and then the score is based off of a principal scoring how effectively the teacher met those objects at the conclusion of the school year.

The final piece of the pie will be included in the 2015-16 school year, which is teacher specific data. This data uses the state Value Added Assessment System scores, which measures student growth, but can only be used by teachers in grade levels that are tested.

At this time observation will account for 50 percent; elective for 20 percent; teacher specific 15 percent; and building level data will be 15 percent.

When asked by the board, Cotner explained that teachers will receive their observation scores at the end of the school year, as they do currently. The school profile score isn’t released until the following fall, so their collective score won’t be calculated until that time.

Teacher evaluation scores will not be made public.

Cotner explained instead of receiving ratings of either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory,” teachers will receive a score that looks more like a grade point average score of zero to three. Cotner said a score of 1.5 or higher will be deemed satisfactory.

Robert Grantier, superintendent, explained that the system isn’t a way of finding reasons to fire individuals but to improve students’ education.

“This is how we improve our instructional delivery,” he said.

Cotner called it a “transparent way” to talk to teachers about their classroom performances.

In other business, during the public comment portion of the meeting, Caryn Mangis asked the board to hold an informational meeting for parents regarding the district’s new iPad initiative. She explained that parents need to know how to work the new technology so that they are able to make sure their children are using it properly.

Grantier said he would talk with the technology director to see if something could be held.

Meg Colone also asked the board to meet with her about the safety of children in the schools. She reported that a group of parents claim their children say they don’t feel safe in the classroom.

She said not telling parents about incidents inside the classrooms that are making other students feel unsafe creates an “erosion of trust” between the parents and administrators.