Building Momentum for Better Teacher Support, Evaluation and Preparation
In a giant step toward improving educator effectiveness, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and the state legislature created a new funding stream for teacher leader positions in legislation signed into law this week. The bill will allow districts to put in place tiered teacher positions with increased roles, responsibilities and compensation to support systems of job-embedded professional development. This places teachers squarely in the center of efforts to improve classroom instruction in their schools. "The teacher career ladder is going to be one of the most powerful tools we have for improving schools in Iowa," Saydel Community School District Superintendent Brad Buck told the Des Moines Register. The Saydel and Central Decatur districts are using the TAP system to develop such teacher leadership roles this year through a federal grant.
That's the question that drove The Education Trust-West (ETW) to organize a statewide event highlighting districts that have created "multi-measure" systems. Representatives from Lucia Mar Unified were on hand to describe how TAP's evaluation and support structures work in practice. "You can't evaluate teachers into performing better," said TAP Master Teacher Cori Meichtry. "You have to support them." ETW's report on the topic is slated for release this summer, and will include findings from the Lucia Mar district.
Can implementing effective teacher evaluation systems drive sustained improvements in classroom teaching? Absolutely. The topic was the focus of a panel at the 2013 Milken Institute Global Conference, where international experts in diverse fields gathered to develop solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) Chief Learning Officer Jason Culbertson and Ascension Parish Schools (Louisiana) Superintendent Patrice Pujol participated to explain the benefits of the TAP system's approach. Pujol emphasized TAP's ability to offer regular feedback to teachers, key to any effective system. "What are ways that we can provide teachers with the next steps for improving instruction," she said, "and getting students to mastery?"
TAP in the News Spotlight
Three years ago, Arizona State University (ASU) set out to improve its pipeline of highly effective teachers that are equipped for the classroom. As part of this effort, ASU partnered with NIET to use the TAP Teaching Standards as the basis for educating candidates about effective practice. Since that time, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College scaled up the number of iTeachAZ student teachers it places in Arizona's pre-K-8 schools by 400 percent and expanded its number of partner school districts statewide from seven to 35. Said Dean Mari Koerner, "We are hands-on innovators immersed in partner pre-K-8 schools with the express goal of helping all children reach their potential."