BCAC suggests teacher evaluation improvements

The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) today published a report, “The ABCs of Teacher Evaluations: Best Practices to Improve Teaching and Learning.”

The report explores the major models used nationwide for teacher evaluations and details the strengths and weaknesses of each model. The report also discusses what other school districts nationwide are doing regarding teacher evaluations and suggests a plan of action that Bridgeport could follow to strengthen its teacher evaluation process.

“BCAC believes that the most important person responsible for student learning is the person at the head of the classroom,” said Mary Pat Healy, executive director of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition. “We applaud our Bridgeport teachers. Teacher evaluation systems should be viewed as a vital tool for teachers that will help them enhance strengths and address specific challenges. It is important that Bridgeport have a teacher evaluation model that reflects best practices.”

Dee Brassell, co-chair of BCAC’s Education and Early Care Task Force, noted, “Teacher evaluations should not be a ‘gotcha moment.’ Rather, they should be a development experience, highlighting any improvement areas or identifying struggling teachers early in their careers. The evaluation process also helps to identify outstanding teachers and can help them prepare for additional responsibilities, should they want their career to move in that direction.”

BCAC’s report suggests eight major areas of improvement in the Bridgeport teacher evaluation process:

• Review and revise instructional standards to reflect what teachers and administrators consider the hallmarks of effective teaching;

• Use multiple measures to assess teacher performance;

Use a multiple rating system to differentiate the nuances in teacher performance;

• Train teachers and evaluators in developing and using a scoring tool they both understand to ensure reliability of evaluation and to eliminate any possible bias;

• Develop a schedule for providing immediate feedback to teachers following observation to ensure that teachers receive detailed guidance on how they can improve, holding principals responsible in their performance reviews for meeting the schedule deadlines;

• Provide support to teachers early and throughout their careers so that struggling teachers receive the help they need;

• Ensure that teacher evaluations have an effect on personnel decisions;

• Use parent engagement as a measure in the teacher evaluation process..

“There has been great discussion at the local, state, and federal level regarding the achievement gap and the critical role teachers play in a child’s life,” said Marta Calderon, co-chair of BCAC’s Education and Early Care Task Force. “This report explains the many aspects of teacher evaluation. Our hope is that parents and the community will use it to ensure that the Bridgeport school district has a meaningful evaluation process in place to keep and retain the best teachers here.”

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