School board okays new teacher evals

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

Plainville Community Schools now has a new teacher evaluation plan that provides more flexibility for educators.

Last Monday, the Board of Education approved a revised teacher evaluation plan, which brings more flexibility and opportunities for teacher leaders, said Plainville Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maureen Brummett.

The revised plan includes a new peer-coaching program that involves training a group of teachers to assist peers in their goals while guiding their growth. Educators who have at least five years of teaching experience with at least two consecutive years of “exemplary” ratings would qualify to serve in this leadership role.

“If you have a skill you’re really good at, and a colleague needs to work on that skill, we allow that to happen,” said Brummett. “It’s something the teachers are really supportive of.”

Assistant Superinten-dent of Schools Steven LePage said the new plan allows educators “to collaborate around common goals, to provide feedback to one another, and to use videotaped lessons as a tool for self-reflection and growth.” Another change allows teachers to conduct observations of each other with some conditions.

Teachers also can create an action-research plan individually or with a group of peers.

“They can try out a new strategy and determine through discussion with peers and other metrics like looking at test scores to determine that strategy was successful,” said Brummett.

Although parent, student, and staff surveys will still be used to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness, students’ scores will not.

In April, the State Department of Education announced that state mastery tests could no longer be used as a measure to calculate a teacher’s final evaluation rating—a change that the district has now incorporated into its revised plan.

“We’ve now incorporated that into our plan,” said Brummett. “Teachers still have to show that students in their class are growing, but they don’t have to rely on a test that’s given once a year.”

The process for the new plan began over a year ago with a committee comprised of over 20 educators and administrators from across the district. Over the course of multiple meetings, they worked together to share ideas and create a plan revision draft. The process also involved a meeting with the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Talent Office, which approved the new plan.

“This process has been quite an undertaking that began with teacher and certified staff feedback,” said LePage, adding how the new plan also entailed multiple revisions.

Last week, LePage began presenting the new plan to Plainville educators throughout the district. The last presentation is scheduled for Sept. 27 at Linden Street School.

“We will continue to monitor and adjust the plan as we deem important for a continued focus on educator growth and development, which ultimately benefits our students and keeps our certified staff at the top of their game,” said LePage.