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School system staff working closely with the Education Association of Charles County has developed a model for evaluating teachers and administrators. The groups had to rework a previous model to adapt to upcoming changes to state assessments.

“We had to basically start from scratch,” Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Amy Hollstein said.

The school system piloted a new evaluation system last year when a 2010 state law mandated that Maryland schools overhaul their evaluation practices.

Districts were allowed to develop their own models, and they were to put more emphasis on student growth.

In Charles County, teachers are evaluated for professional practice by looking at planning and preparation, instruction, classroom environment and professional responsibilities. The categories are derived from the Charlotte Danielson framework for teaching.

Part of the evaluations will be based on student learning objectives, or measurable instructional goals established for a specific group of students during a set period of time.

Charles County was faced with having to revamp its new practice as the state is moving toward the new Common Core curriculum and Maryland School Assessments will no longer be the state test used to measure student growth.

Holstein told school board members at a Charles County Board of Education meeting Oct. 8 that the process is “frustrating for everyone, and it’s trickling down to teachers.”

She said working with EACC, the teachers union, the school system has developed a new model for evaluating teachers. The professional practice portion remains the same.

For student growth, teachers will be evaluated 15 percent for their first student learning objectives and 15 percent on their second. Pre and post tests given this year will provide data for teachers to use for their SLOs.

The evaluation will comprise 5 percent each for the two school SLOs and 10 percent will be for a “schools making a difference index.” Hollstein said in a separate interview that this category accounts for anything a teacher does that helps better the school, such as attending after-school events. She said schools should get credit for not just test scores, but anything teachers do that help make the school better.

For the professional practice portion of the evaluations, teachers randomly were placed in three cohorts for observations. Those in cohort one will be observed this year with cohorts two and three observed in following years.

Those not observed this year are able to use the last observation on record for their evaluation scores.

Any teachers who did not meet satisfactory on their last observation are automatically placed in cohort one, as those teachers are required to be observed each year. Those who made satisfactory and are in cohorts two or three will have 32 points for the professional practice half of the evaluation. Those points will carry with them until the year they formally are observed.

With this system, Hollstein said “everyone will stay consistent and on schedule.”

Principals have a similar evaluation model with different objectives that are focused on leadership and learning environments for professional practice. Principals are accountable for improvements on achievement gaps.

Superintendent Kimberly A. Hill credited all those who worked on the process and recognized the collaboration between the school system and the teachers union.

In her update to the school board, EACC President Elizabeth Brown said, “This has been a very exhausting mission, but EACC is pleased that we were able to develop our evaluation corroboratively.”

The model is not officially in place at this time. School system staff updated administrators on the changes Thursday.

gphillips@somdnews.com