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The state-required process for evaluating teachers, as part of the federal Race to the Top Act, was once again a contentious issue at the March 7 Calvert County Board of Education meeting.

At the meeting, Superintendent Jack Smith said that the county is currently modifying the model for evaluations recommended by the state. The new evaluations are part of the state-issued Education Reform Act of 2010, which was issued by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in February 2010. Part of the Education Reform Act required student growth to be included in teacher evaluations.

Smith said it is critical that CCPS use a local model for teacher evaluations, citing that the current state model the county is testing is not an accurate way of evaluating teachers. The state model the county is testing is the model the system would default to if the board is unable to agree upon a local model.

“We are hoping to create a local model that will meet the needs of the state,” he said.

Maryland requires each county have a teacher evaluation system that uses 50 percent professional practices and 50 percent student growth, according to documents obtained from the schools’ website.

The current evaluation system would use the Maryland School Assessment tests to evaluate teachers, according to Smith.

Many of the BOE members seemed unsure as to how the county would ultimately evaluate its teachers.

“I knew this would be kind of a boggle, but it is important that you know what we are doing with the state,” Smith said.

When asked later about the state’s model, board member Joe Chenelly said, “I certainly share Dr. Smith’s views that if we are not going with the state’s plan we are going to make sure that we have a local plan in place.

“We need something fair,” Chenelly said.

Smith said a rough draft of the Calvert evaluation plan will go to the Maryland State Department of Education for review at the beginning of April.

In other business, the board:

• Formally signed the Calvert Association of Supervisors and Administrators’(CASA) negotiated salary agreement. “It has been a long time coming,” said Calvert County Board of Education President Eugene Karol;

• Discussed construction projects, including the new Calvert High School.

“As temperatures get warmer, we will be able to get a lot more done [at Calvert High],” George Leah Jr., director of school construction for CCPS, said of the current status of construction at Calvert High.

Northern High School is still in the planning phase of refurbishment, Leah said.

Other schools on the construction agenda included Patuxent High, Appeal Elementary, Mutual Elementary, Southern Middle and Huntingtown High.

bmonaco@somdnews.com