New Albany News

District soon will begin annual evaluations of all teachers

Officials say new state law must be implemented by fall 2014

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The New Albany-Plain Local School District will pilot a new teacher evaluation system in the fall of 2013 that will begin to implement recent changes in state law.

The new system will require building principals to evaluate each teacher annually, starting in the fall of 2014.

The approval of Ohio House Bill 555 in December 2012 requires 50 percent of a teacher evaluation to be based on student growth.

The other half is derived from teacher performance measured to specific standards. Building principals are required to meet with teachers and set goals, observe the teacher in class at least two times each school year and meet with the teacher to determine accomplishments.

The new system uses the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession and includes "a professional growth plan, observations, walkthroughs and conferences to determine a teacher's performance rating," according to the Ohio Department of Education.

Marilyn Troyer, the district's chief of innovation, improvement and human capital, said in past years teachers were evaluated in the final year of their contracts.

She said 80 teachers were evaluated this school year.

"In the future, we will evaluate every teacher every year, which is a huge expansion to the number of evaluations conducted," Troyer said.

Troyer told the New Albany-Plain Local school board April 22 it needs to approve a system that will be piloted in the 2013-14 school year and implemented in the 2014-15 school year.

Teachers can volunteer to be part of the pilot program in 2013-14, Troyer said.

Board member Mark Ryan called the evaluations "the right course of action," saying they will make the district better.

Ryan said he understands switching to the new system would be a challenge but he asked Troyer to involve a lot of teachers in the pilot and accelerate implementation.

"Ultimately, this is going to make us the district that we want to be," he said.

Board member Cheri Lehmann suggested offering incentives to get more teachers to participate.

Mike Covey, president of the Plain Local Education Association, the local teachers union, said administrators would have time to merge the two systems since they will complete evaluations for teachers whose contracts are expiring and all teachers participating in the pilot program.

"I agree that it's paramount to give people this feedback on an annual basis," said Superintendent April Domine.

However, Domine cautioned that implementing the system would quadruple the administrators' work.

Board President Laura Kohler said because the workload will increase, the district should include as many teachers as possible in the pilot to solve any issues before the program is implemented in the fall 2014.

Troyer said the board will review the teacher evaluation system May 6, with a first reading of the policy on May 20.

The board will then meet June 10 to make changes before potentially voting on the evaluation system June 24.

Troyer said by law, the district must have the new system in place by the fall of 2014.

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