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TEA Details New Teacher Evaluation, Support System

As part of the state’s waiver from specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has submitted to the U.S. Department of Education specific details of a new teacher evaluation and support system that will be piloted in as many as 72 school districts and charters in the 2014-2015 school year.
As part of the state’s waiver from specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has submitted to the U.S. Department of Education specific details of a new teacher evaluation and support system that will be piloted in as many as 72 school districts and charters in the 2014-2015 school year.

Elements of the Teacher Evaluation and Support System have been designed utilizing extensive input from the state’s teachers, principals, and administrators. The new appraisal system will replace the current state-recommended instrument for evaluating teachers – the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) – which has been in place since 1997.

“We have heard from Texas teachers that the current evaluation system used by 86 percent of our school districts is outdated and provides little value in regard to meaningful professional feedback and growth,” said Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. “The Teacher Evaluation and Support System is designed to be a more effective evaluative tool to support the most important adult in Texas education – the teacher at the front of every child’s classroom.”

Since the fall of 2013, TEA has worked with a teacher steering committee comprised of classroom teachers from a variety of subjects and grade levels, campus principals, members from the higher education community, evaluation trainers from the state’s regional service centers and teacher association members to revise teaching standards and develop a new, state-recommended teacher appraisal system.

Eighty percent of the new Teacher Evaluation and Support System is weighted on rubric-based elements that focus on planning, instruction, the learning environment, and professional responsibilities, which include a teacher self-assessment. The new system was designed to accommodate and encourage practices that are currently commonplace in many high-performing campuses across Texas – multiple classroom observations with at least one formal observation, ongoing professional learning community feedback, and a continuous focus on professional growth.

The remaining 20 percent will be reflected in a student growth measure at the individual teacher level that will include a value-add score based on student growth as measured by state assessments. The value-add component will only apply to teachers for which a value-add score can be determined – less than a quarter of teachers in the state. Local districts will have the flexibility to select other options (such as student learning objectives, portfolios or district-level pre- and post-tests) for teachers in non-tested grades or subjects, or for those educators for whom value-add scores cannot be calculated.

“The Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System is aimed at helping everyone in the classroom improve to the benefit of the students sitting in front of them,” said Commissioner Williams. “The bulk of this appraisal system heavily tilts toward what’s really taking place in the classroom and are methods some of our best school districts in Texas are already using.”

Beginning in the fall of 2014, the new teacher appraisal system will be piloted in school districts and charters across the state. Districts that have expressed initial interest in piloting the system are: Abernathy ISD; Allen ISD; Alvarado ISD; Arlington ISD; Ballinger ISD; Bronte ISD; Brownwood ISD; Burleson ISD; Bynum ISD; Calallen ISD; Clarendon ISD; Clifton ISD; Clint ISD; Corsicana ISD; Cotton Center ISD; Crosbyton ISD; Cuero ISD; Cypress Fairbanks ISD; Denver City ISD; Elgin ISD; Faith Family Academy; Fayetteville ISD; Fort Hancock ISD; Friendswood ISD; Grand Prairie ISD; Hawley ISD; Highland Park ISD (Potter County); Hillsboro ISD; Holliday ISD; Hondo ISD; Houston Heights Learning Academy; Jubilee Academic Center; Lake Travis ISD; Lamar Consolidated ISD; Latexo ISD; Levelland ISD; Linden-Kildare CISD; Lorenzo ISD; Los Fresnos ISD; Martinsville ISD; Mathis ISD; Meyersville ISD; Moody ISD; Odem-Edroy ISD; Paris ISD; Pflugerville ISD; Pine Tree ISD; Port Arthur ISD; Port Neches-Grove ISD; Presidio ISD; Nocona ISD; Quinlan ISD; Red Lick ISD; Santa Gertrudis ISD; Scurry-Rosser ISD; Shallowater ISD; Stafford MISD; Sweetwater ISD; Taft ISD; Teague ISD; Temple ISD; Tulia ISD; Weslaco ISD; Wharton ISD; Whitney ISD; Wimberly ISD; Winfield ISD; Wink-Loving ISD; Woodsboro ISD; Wortham ISD; Wylie ISD (Collin County) ; and Valley Mills ISD.

These districts and charters will provide valuable feedback over the course of the next year. Observations and recommended revisions from these pilot districts will be utilized to strengthen the final appraisal system. The new state-recommended system will be offered to all districts statewide in the 2015-2016 school year. It is designed as an educator evaluation and support tool only. The decision to utilize this tool will remain a local decision. Any personnel decisions at the district and campus level will also remain local.

The Texas Education Agency secured a waiver from specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 2013 at the request of the state’s superintendents. The U.S. Department of Education is pushing all states to adopt teacher evaluation systems that utilize a value-add component. The State of Washington recently lost its waiver for failing to follow through on that provision. The waivers for three additional states have been placed on high-risk status by the U.S. Department of Education for similar circumstances.

To view complete details of the new Teacher Evaluation and Support System submitted by the Texas Education Agency to the U.S. Department of Education, visit http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769803880.

For an overview of the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System, visithttp://txcc.sedl.org/our_work/tx_educator_evaluation/index.php.
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