The School Zone – 11.24.11

The School Zone – 11.24.11

Posted: Friday, November 25, 2011 7:01 pm
By: Randy Frazier, Director of Schools

Weakley County Schools are committed to improving student learning. There are many variables that impact a student’s academic performance. Teacher effectiveness is a critical variable that impacts student achievement. Tennessee’s Race To The Top (RTTT) Initiative places a major emphasis on strengthening classroom instruction.
Our RTTT funding has been utilized for professional development focusing on curriculum and instruction. We are blessed to have many outstanding teachers throughout our system. Our teachers are working hard to improve classroom instruction for our students.  
New legislation requires all teachers receive annual evaluations. This new evaluation legislation embraces a fundamental change in Tennessee’s approach to teacher evaluations.
Teacher evaluations now include the use of student test scores combined with multiple classroom observations. Teachers will receive a summative effectiveness rating based on these measurements. Teacher evaluations will be used to improve student instruction and determine if we are meeting our educational goals.
Our system has adopted the Tennessee Educator Accelerator Model (TEAM) for teacher evaluations. This model is based on educational research conducted by the National Institute on Excellence in Teaching.  The TEAM model incorporates instructional practices that are proven to improve student learning.
This model is designed to provide specific feedback to teachers. This feedback will recognize instructional strengths and identify areas for improvement. This information will be used to provide specific professional development opportunities to strengthen instructional skills. Evaluations will enable us to identify the best instructional practices utilized in our highest achieving classrooms. The best practices will provide a resource for training throughout our system.
The new methodology for evaluating teachers is a work in progress. Future efforts will be made to refine and improve this process. We are witnessing positive results from the early implementation of the TEAM model.  
The nature of professional collaboration and conversations between educators has been focused on student instruction.
I am confident that the evaluation process will foster a culture of continuous instructional improvement and improved student achievement.

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