We hope you had a relaxing summer! We know that many of you participated in summer workshops & boot camps, took graduate classes, or taught summer school. The myth that educators take the summer off is just that: a myth. We know that many of you spent your time learning a new curriculum or creating a special project for your students. We know your students will reap the rewards of all of your hard work.
Of course, we also know how important it is to re-charge your batteries. With any luck, you had a chance or two to get away and refresh your mind!
The biggest change for professional educators this year is in the area of evaluation. State law has required RPS 205 to include student growth in educators' evaluations, and other changes needed to be made to bring the District's evaluation process into compliance with existing state law--such as the use of informal observations.
As everyone heard on Institute Day, all of this year's evaluation changes have been designed and approved by joint committees of REA-members and administrators. None of the evaluation changes are being dictated or imposed by "downtown."
The work of these committees is also not considered to be finished. Complex processes like this cannot be perfectly designed and implemented in one shot. This is a learning process, and the committee members understand that tweaks improvements will be necessary as issues arise.
If you discover something in the evaluation process that isn't working properly, have a question or concern, or come up with a suggestion for improvement, please send an email to evaluationREA@gmail.com . Someone from the appropriate committee will be in touch. Please also: 1) use the ARs in your school for advice on evaluation issues; 2) consult the guiding documents and forms on the REA web site (Evaluation/PERA/PAR); and 3) feel free to communicate directly with REA members of the appropriate committee--their job, after all, is to bring teachers' voice to the table (the list of who serves on which committee may be found on the second page of the training PowerPoint at Eval/PERA/PAR 2015 Training PowerPoint).
Finally, when working on evaluations, keep in mind the two primary values of the committees that designed the evaluation changes. First, that the whole process should be about the conversation between the teacher and evaluator--if your evaluation comes down to an administrator pushing papers at you and you simply signing them, then the RPS evaluation process is a failure. Second, and most importantly, when in doubt, do what best improves teaching and learning--that's what the conversation should be about.
We hope your year is getting off to a great start. May your students be ready to learn and your administrators be supportive!