Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

Commentary Offers ‘Living Case Study’ on Evaluation

July 08, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Nicholas A. Fischer’s Commentary on how his school district has improved student learning through a homegrown evaluation system has several worthwhile lessons for other districts.

Among other things, his district’s evaluation system, though based on state standards, was adapted internally by a team of administrators and teachers in a yearlong effort. Mr. Fischer credits the evaluation process to blending three important human-capital fundamentals linked to adult learning: identifying observable classroom behaviors tied to improved student learning, and using these indicators as connectors to standards-based professional development and access to growth opportunities; using student test scores as a barometric subtext rather than an absolute focus; and using the process as a human-development model, rather than a “gotcha” model.

He has also, according to his description, established the model as a developing one, using a union-management oversight team to keep the process current and balanced (an example of shared power in action).

For those observers of high-performing school districts, take note that Mr. Fischer, through his leadership, is treating the district as a social system of professionals rather than as a factory system for little adults, the latter of which is a failed model so often used as a foundation for teacher-evaluation systems. I have audited many school district evaluation systems and read thousands of completed evaluation forms. Few have the attractive characteristics of the one cited by Mr. Fischer.

The extraordinary aspect of this living case study arises out of his description of the enrolled student population’s ethnic and socioeconomic status, demographic data described in the fourth paragraph of his Commentary. There is some magic going on here—a strong rational evaluation model based on the Common Core State Standards that treats the teachers as responsible adults, creates an accountability model, and continually shares power with those affected by the evaluation process.

Nice work, Mr. Fisher.

Thomas Johnson

HR Associates

Harwich Port, Mass.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 10, 2014 edition of Education Week as Commentary Offers ‘Living Case Study’ on Evaluation

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Working Smarter, Not Harder with Data
There is a new paradigm shift in K-12 education. Technology and data have leapt forward, advancing in ways that allow educators to better support students while also maximizing their most precious resource – time. The
Content provided by PowerSchool
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Democrats Try to Stamp Out School Closures as Omicron Surges
Democrats are speaking out more forcefully against COVID-19 school closures, recognizing a rising anger among parents.
6 min read
President Joe Biden greets Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, on Oct. 7, 2021. Democrats are speaking out against school closures even as the omicron surge puts additional pressures on public schools. Scattered teachers unions have called for closures, and a handful of districts have switched to virtual learning because too many educators have gotten sick.
President Joe Biden greets Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, on Oct. 7, 2021. Democrats are speaking out against school closures even as the omicron surge puts additional pressures on public schools. Scattered teachers unions have called for closures, and a handful of districts have switched to virtual learning because too many educators have gotten sick.
Susan Walsh/AP
School & District Management Explainer Teachers' COVID Sick Leave, Explained
Who gets paid? Are unvaccinated teachers eligible? How long should teachers be allowed to take off? Districts' answers will surprise you.
7 min read
sick leave 529156651 b
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Staff Shortages Are Bringing Schools to the Breaking Point
High rates of sick staff members have forced districts to move some of their schools temporarily back to remote learning.
6 min read
Image of staffing diagram.
Bill Oxford/E+
School & District Management Letter to the Editor The More Opportunities Students Get, the Better
Giving students jobs in schools shouldn't be controversial, writes U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx in this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty