Board of Education approves educator effectiveness system

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    Floyd County Superintendent Henry Webb, Kenton County Superintendent Terri Cox-Cruey and Chief of Staff Tommy Floyd update the Kentucky Board of Education on the Superintendent Professional Growth and Effectiveness System. Photo by Amy Wallot, April 9, 2014
    Floyd County Superintendent Henry Webb, Kenton County Superintendent Terri Cox-Cruey and Chief of Staff Tommy Floyd update the Kentucky Board of Education on the Superintendent Professional Growth and Effectiveness System.
    Photo by Amy Wallot, April 9, 2014

    At its meeting yesterday the Kentucky Board of Education unanimously approved a new statewide evaluation system for teachers and principals and received an update on a new evaluation system for superintendents.

    The goal of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System model is that every student is taught by an effective teacher; every school is led by an effective principal; and every district is run by an effective superintendent. Currently, multiple systems are being used across the state with no consistency or meaningful difference in performance levels or support.

    Over the past four years, two steering committees and Kentucky Department of Education staff have developed a model for teachers and one for principals that focuses on professional growth and continuous improvement. It includes elements of both formative and summative evaluation. Feedback from participants in a field test, statewide pilot and other stakeholders have helped shape the system.

    “It’s scary, it’s change, but I have seen the benefit of it,” Stephanie Harris, principal at Mapleton Elementary (Montgomery County), told the board during the work session.  “What I’m most excited about is what this is doing for our kids. It’s about continuous improvement for all.”

    Under 704 KAR 3:370, the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System, teachers and principals will be evaluated in two main areas: professional practice and student growth trends. For teachers, the professional practice rating will be determined by evidence from observations, a student voice survey, professional growth plans and self-reflection, and district-determined sources weighed against components and indicators of educator effectiveness in four domains: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibilities. Peer reviews, which were once a measure of effectiveness, will only be used to provide supportive feedback a teacher can use to improve professional practice. All evaluators and observers must be trained and tested before conducting evaluations.

    The performance criteria for principals and assistant principals will fall into the following categories: instructional leadership, school climate, human resources management, organizational management, communication and community relations, and professionalism. Based on how they measure up, educators will receive a professional practice rating of ineffective, developing, accomplished or exemplary.

    The student growth trend rating of high, expected or low will be based on professional judgment and three years of data — student growth percentiles on state K-PREP tests (how much a class improves from one grade level to the next comparing students in the class to their academic peers statewide) or rigorous, locally determined student growth goals, developed collaboratively between the teacher and evaluator.  An educator’s professional practice rating and student growth trend rating will determine the educator’s overall growth or improvement plan and whether it will: be directed or self-directed, run one or three years, and include formative and/or summative reviews. The ratings also will combine for an overall performance category of exemplary, accomplished, developing or ineffective. No individual performance ratings will be made public, but these will be reported by each performance category and will be used in determining the Next-Generation Professionals component of school and district accountability starting in the 2015-16 school year. Unless a district otherwise chooses, PGES will not be used to make personnel decisions until 2015-16.  PGES now moves through the regulatory process.

    A companion evaluation system for superintendents is currently in development. During an update, the board reviewed the Superintendent Summative Evaluation tool that would rate superintendents exemplary, accomplished, developing or growth required on seven standards:  strategic, instructional, cultural, human resource, managerial, collaborative and influential leadership. A pilot of the superintendent system is scheduled for this fall with full implementation in the 2015-16 school year.

    Also at its meeting, the board heard a report on Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Kentucky based on a study by the Southern Regional Education Board.

    Associate Commissioner Dale Winkler and Senior Vice President of the Southern Regional Education Board Gene Bottoms a study of the state's 95 area technology and career technical centers with the Kentucky Board of Education. Photo by Amy Wallot, April 9, 2014
    Associate Commissioner Dale Winkler and Senior Vice President of the Southern Regional Education Board Gene Bottoms discuss a study of the state’s 95 area technology and career technical centers with the Kentucky Board of Education.
    Photo by Amy Wallot, April 9, 2014

    While the report included academic rankings of all the CTE programs in the state, Commissioner Terry Holliday said the focus should be on the four over-arching recommendations: (1) commission an in-depth study that will identify funding priorities and formulate recommendations to create an improved and more equitable funding system for all technical centers (2) based on a set of best practices priorities, establish an accountability system that not only measures outcomes, but also measures whether all of the components are in place that will maximize opportunities for all students (3)  forge a unified system of world-class technical centers (4)  establish stronger, more formal ties between the state’s secondary and postsecondary education institutions and private sector business and industry partners by creating a robust system of state and regional advisory committee.

    Commissioner Holliday committed to funding the recommended study and will work with the CTE Advisory Task Force to ultimately bring back to the board a plan for moving forward.

    During a review of the legislative session, the board was quick to praise the leadership of Gov. Steve Beshear, Commissioner Holliday, education partners and lawmakers who passed a budget essentially restoring most K-12 funding for education to pre-recession levels.

    “Our children can’t wait, our kids can’t wait.  That was our unified message,” said KBE member Nawanna Privett. “This was a team effort,” Board Chair Roger Marcum said. “We need to thank the Governor, legislative leaders, the commissioner and our partners for their efforts.  Students will benefit because we all worked together.”

    Also at yesterday’s meeting, the board approved:

    • a new district facility plan for the Hickman County School District
    • district facility plan amendments for Christian, Clark and McCracken County School Districts
    • 2013-14 Local District Tax Rates Levied
    • a waiver of 702 KAR 5:060, Section 6(2) from the Fort Thomas Independent School District
    • site approval for the proposed new high school, Floyd County
    • school district indirect cost rates for fiscal year 2014-15
    • the appointments to the Kentucky School for the Deaf Advisory Board of Christina Nymo-Yance, Debbie Haydon, Jennifer Harris, Sharon White, Michelle Gadberry, and Mike Lafavers
    • the appointment of former Graves County Superintendent Pete Galloway to fill an at-large seat on the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Board of Control
    • proposed amendments to the KHSAA Bylaws
    • a request from Kenton County to use an alternative effectiveness and evaluation system

    In addition, board members received updates on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Part B Monitoring Report and the ESEA Waiver Extension Submission which will be submitted in May; Kentucky’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Coordinated School Health Program; Gifted and Talented Education, AdvanceKentucky and districts in state assistance.

    During a study session on Tuesday, the board discussed potential changes in assessments at the high school level; the discussion was prompted by the vendor discontinuing the 8th-grade EXPLORE high school readiness test and the 10th-grade PLAN college-readiness tests after fall 2015. Based on the discussion, it does not appear any testing changes are imminent for the 2014-15 school year. The board will revisit the issue and look at various options, including incorporating more performance-based testing, at upcoming meetings.

    This was the last meeting for board members Judy Gibbons who is not seeking another term and Brigitte Ramsey who is stepping down to take the Associate Executive Director position at the Prichard Committee for Education Excellence. The board thanked both Gibbons and Ramsey and recognized them for their steadfast service to the board and to Kentucky education. The next regular meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education is scheduled for June 4 in Frankfort.

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