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Charles County is one of seven public school systems to pilot a new teacher and principal evaluation system that came about through a state law in 2010 that mandated Maryland schools to overhaul their evaluation practices.

Each district is allowed to develop its own model.

Education Association of Charles County representative Meg MacDonald told school board members last week that the school system has been working with the EACC to develop its system.

The new evaluation system is to put more emphasis on student growth.

MacDonald said the model the county has come up with is fair and allows for flexibility.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Keith Hettel said there are currently 14 Charles County schools participating in the pilot, including 140 teachers.

Principals will be evaluated 50 percent on professional practice and 50 percent on student growth.

The professional-practice portion of the evaluation is based on the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework. Hettel said current evaluation practices use some aspects of that framework.

Professional practice is broken into eight sections, including school vision, school culture and use of technology and data. Principals score points based on the eight sections to reach 50 percent. The other 50 percent is tied to student growth. The breakdown varies based on the level a principal is administrating.

For example, a principal at an elementary or middle school is evaluated 10 percent based on Maryland School Assessments, tests given to students in grades 3 through 8 in math and reading to satisfy requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The new Student Progress Index, which aims to have schools make progress based on individual targets, makes up 5 percent of the evaluation, and 35 percent is based on school and system student learning objectives, or goals the school system would like to see achieved. If a principal is working on a specific goal, the evaluation looks at what is getting done to reach the goal.

High school principals have similar breakdowns but replace MSAs with High School Assessments.

Much like principals, teachers under the pilot model are scored 50 percent on professional practice and 50 percent on student growth.

Teachers are evaluated for professional practice by looking at planning and preparation, instruction, classroom environment and professional responsibilities. These evaluations are derived from the Charlotte Danielson framework for teaching.

For student growth, teachers are broken into various categories depending on their grade level and whether their class takes MSA tests and/or the Charles County quarterly assessments.

La Plata High School principal Evelyn Arnold said the new model for teachers allows them to have more input in the process than past evaluations.

For example, Arnold said teachers have a lot of say in helping write the learning objectives that they will be evaluated on.

Arnold said La Plata is in its second year of the pilot program and has 16 volunteer teachers.

As far as the model itself, Arnold said she is noticing in the second year that everything seems to be coming together.

She said the pilot program is “creating a lot of good discussion,” and there is a lot of input from all sectors.

Arnold said this will be the first year principal volunteers get evaluated and that she is excited about the process.

She said no teacher or principal volunteer is penalized based on results of the pilot evaluation.

The school system has sent the model to the Maryland State Department of Education for approval.

The evaluation models will go into effect for all teachers and principals beginning next school year.