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Teacher Evaluation & Development Program

Introduction

Vision and Purpose of Teacher Evaluation

The West Hartford Public Schools is committed to improving student learning and staff effectiveness through the ongoing development of West Hartford’s professional staff. Research has proven that no single school-based factor contributes more to the success of the students than high quality teachers. To ensure that all students have competent, high quality teachers, West Hartford utilizes an evaluation and support structure that builds human capacity and challenges all educators to aspire to and reach excellence in their practice in order to provide a superior education for our students. Mirrored after Connecticut’s SEED model, West Hartford’s Teacher Evaluation and Development Program satisfies the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation (Core Requirements), which were initially adopted by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) in June 2012 and revised in February 2014 and again April 2017 in response to feedback from various stakeholder groups.

Guiding Principles of the Teacher Evaluation and Development Process

The West Hartford Educator Evaluation and Development Program is a holistic and comprehensive process based on the following guiding principles:

• Vision for Best Instructional Practice – West Hartford’s frameworks for instructional practice and service delivery are grounded in a studentcentered approach that supports and develops independence and student responsibility for learning. Evaluation of practice considers not only teacher actions but the students’ role in the learning, and gauges the impact of instructional strategies and decisions on student learning outcomes.

• Consider multiple standards-based measures of performance – West Hartford’s model for teacher evaluation defines four components of teacher effectiveness: student growth and development, teacher performance and practice, parent feedback, and whole-school student learning indicators or student feedback.

• Emphasize growth over time – West Hartford’s focus on continuous improvement is a key driver in the teacher evaluation process. The evaluation of a teacher’s performance with regard to professional practice and student outcomes should reflect improvement from an established starting point. Attaining high levels of performance and/or maintaining high results are critical aspects of a teacher’s work, therefore a rigorous and aspirational goal-setting process in this model encourages a cycle of continuous improvement over time.

• Promote both professional judgment and consistency - Assessing an educator’s professional practice requires evaluators to constantly use their professional judgment. No rubric or formula, however detailed, can capture all of the nuances of how teachers and leaders interact with one another and with students. Synthesizing multiple sources of information into performance ratings is inherently more complex than checklists or numerical averages. At the same time, educators’ ratings should depend on their performance, not on their evaluators’ biases. Accordingly, the model aims to minimize the variance between evaluations of practice and support fairness and consistency within and across schools.

• Foster dialogue about student learning - The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program is designed to show that of equal importance to getting better results is the professional conversation that takes place between a teacher and his/her evaluator. It is expected that dialogue in this model will occur frequently and focus on what students are learning and what administrators can do to support teaching and learning.

• Encourage aligned professional learning, coaching and feedback to support growth - All teachers, novice and veteran educators alike, deserve detailed, constructive feedback and professional learning tailored to the individual needs of their classrooms and students. The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program recognizes that student learning is a shared responsibility among teachers, administrators and district leaders, and expects teachers and administrators to develop goals and objectives in a way that supports overall school improvement.

• Alignment to the Model of Continuous Improvement - West Hartford’s Model of Continuous Improvement is a concrete representation our district vision and strategy for improvement. The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program is the process by which we design and carry out teacher development, support, and evaluation. Designed to support continuous and ongoing teacher growth and development that is driven by data collection, analysis, teaching, collaboration, and reflection, this process also aligns with the district vision, mission, and Board of Education goals. The work of improvement is an ongoing and continuous process over the life of a teacher’s career.

Teacher Evaluation Process Overview

Teacher Evaluation and Support Framework

The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program relies on multiple measures to provide an accurate and comprehensive picture of teacher performance. Teachers are evaluated across the two major categories of Teacher Practice and Student Outcomes that are broken into two components each.

1. Teacher Practice: An evaluation of the core instructional practices and skills that positively affect student learning. This category is comprised of two components:

• Observation of Teacher Performance and Practice (40%) as defined within the West Hartford Instructional Framework

• Parent Feedback (10%) on teacher practice as measured by surveys

2. Student Outcomes: An evaluation of teachers’ contributions to student academic progress at the school and classroom level. This category is comprised of two components:

• Student Growth and Development (45%) as determined by the teacher’s Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and associated Indicators of Academic Growth and Development (IAGDs)

• Student Feedback (5%) as measured by surveys

Teacher Eval and Support Framework

Scores from each of the four components will be combined to produce a summative performance rating designation of Exemplary, Effective, Developing or Below Standard. The performance levels are defined as:

• Exemplary – Substantially exceeding indicators of performance

• Effective – Meeting indicators of performance

• Developing – Meeting some indicators of performance but not others

• Below Standard – Not meeting indicators of performance

Process and Timeline

In alignment with the SEED model, the annual evaluation process between a teacher and an evaluator (i.e., principal or designee) in West Hartford is anchored by three conferences, which guide the process at the beginning, middle and end of the year. The purpose of these conversations is to clarify expectations for the evaluation process, provide comprehensive feedback to each teacher on his/her performance, set development goals, and identify development opportunities. These conversations are collaborative and require reflection and preparation by both the evaluator and the teacher in order to be productive and meaningful. 

process and timeline

 

Goal-Setting and Planning

Timeframe is September-October; Target is October 15, must be completed by October 30.

1. Orientation on Process – To begin the evaluation process, evaluators meet with teachers, in a group or individually, to discuss the evaluation process and their roles and responsibilities within it. In this meeting, they will discuss any school or district priorities that should be reflected in teacher professional learning objectives (PLOs) and Student Learning Objectives (SLOs).

2. Teacher Reflection and Goal-Setting – The teacher examines student data, prior year evaluation and survey results, and the West Hartford Instructional Framework or SESS Framework to draft two or more professional learning objectives, one or more SLOs (depending upon the availability of multiple indicators of academic growth) for the school year. PLOs should reflect priorities from parent and student feedback as well as teacher practice focus areas. The teacher may collaborate in grade-level or subject-matter teams to support the goal-setting process. 

3. Goal-Setting Conference* – The evaluator and teacher meet to discuss the teacher’s proposed objectives in order to arrive at mutual agreement about them. The teacher collects evidence about his/her practice and the evaluator collects evidence about the teacher’s practice to support the review. The evaluator may request revisions to the proposed focus area(s), goals and objectives if they do not meet approval criteria. (*Important Note: The CT Guidelines for Educator Evaluation require that each teacher and his or her evaluator mutually agree on the goals and indicators of academic growth and development. Therefore, approval serves as a confirmation that mutual agreement has been reached.)

Mid-Year Conference Check-In

Timeframe is January - February; Target is February 15, must be completed by March 1.

1. Reflection and Evidence Collection – The teacher and evaluator collect and reflect on evidence available to date about the teacher’s practice and student learning in preparation for the conference.

2. Mid-Year Conference – The evaluator and teacher complete at least one midyear conference during which they review evidence related to the teacher’s PLOs and progress towards SLOs and other goals. The mid-year conference is an important point in the year for addressing concerns and reviewing results for the first half of the year. Evaluators may deliver mid-year formative information on indicators of the Instructional Framework for which evidence has been gathered and analyzed. If needed, teachers and evaluators can mutually agree to revisions on the strategies or approaches used and/or mid-year adjustment of IAGDs to accommodate changes (e.g., student populations, assignment). They also discuss actions that the teacher can take and supports the evaluator can provide to promote teacher growth in his/her focus area. A Mid-Year Conference Discussion Guide is available to assist evaluators in conducting the conference on the SEED website.

End-of-Year Summative Review

Timeframe is May-June; must be completed by last day of school. All processes close June 30.

1. Teacher Self-Assessment – The teacher reviews all information and data collected during the year and completes a self-assessment of progress with PLOs, SLOs and performance related to all indicators within the Framework for review by the evaluator. This self-assessment should focus on the areas for development established in the Goal- Setting Conference.

2. End-of-Year Conference – The evaluator and the teacher meet to discuss all evidence collected to date and to discuss component ratings, including teacher reflections. Following the conference, the evaluator assigns a summative rating and generates a summary report of the evaluation before the end of the school year and before June 30.

3. Scoring – The evaluator reviews submitted evidence, self-assessments and observation data and uses them to generate component ratings once the end of-year conference has taken place. The component ratings are combined to calculate scores for Teacher Practice and Student Outcomes. These scores generate the final, summative rating. If additional data become available after June 30, the evaluator may adjust the summative rating if the data would significantly change the final rating. Such revisions should take place before September 15.

Complementary Observers

The primary evaluator for most teachers will be the school principal at the elementary level, and the school principal, assistant principal, or department supervisor at the secondary level. This individual will be responsible for the overall evaluation process, including assigning summative ratings. At any level, complementary observers may be assigned to assist the primary evaluator with the observation process.

Complementary observers are certified administrators trained in observation protocols and authorized to serve in this role. Many may have specific content knowledge in an area. Complementary observers may assist primary evaluators by conducting observations, including pre-and post-conferences, collecting additional evidence, reviewing SLOs and providing additional feedback. A complementary observer should share his/her feedback with the primary evaluator as it is collected and shared with teachers.

Primary evaluators will have sole responsibility for assigning final summative ratings. Both primary evaluators and complementary observers must demonstrate proficiency in conducting standards-based observations.

Evaluator Calibration

To ensure accuracy and fairness with the evaluation and support process, all administrators responsible for the evaluation of teachers in West Hartford will participate in ongoing calibration. Through this collaborative process, administrators engage in practice and proficiency exercises to deepen their understanding of evaluation criteria, define proficient teaching, collect, sort and analyze evidence across a continuum of performance indicators, engage in coaching scenarios, and develop and deliver formative and summative feedback to the teachers they evaluate. This calibration process is an essential step toward ensuring that West Hartford’s teacher evaluation system produces accurate, consistent, fair, and reliable results for all teachers.

Evaluation-Informed Professional Learning

Evaluation of the professional skills of all teachers is key to helping teachers maximize their performance in the classroom. Hence, professional development is closely tied to teacher evaluation. The two go hand in hand to set a structure within which teachers examine their classroom performance and ability to meet the diverse and changing needs of their students. After identifying areas for growth, teachers actively participate in a wide range of professional development activities designed to improve classroom performance and ultimately student learning.

Throughout the process of implementing West Hartford’s Teacher Evaluation and Development Program, in mutual agreement with their evaluators, all teachers will identify professional learning needs that support their goal and objectives. The identified needs will serve as the foundation for ongoing conversations about the teacher’s practice and impact on student outcomes. The professional learning opportunities identified for each teacher should be based on the individual strengths and needs identified through the evaluation process. The process may also reveal areas of common need among teachers, which can then be targeted with professional learning opportunities.

Non-Tenure Teacher Review Process

Recruitment and retention of high quality teachers is a priority in West Hartford. We strive to develop our teachers by providing substantial, ongoing professional development and support. This includes teacher induction and orientation workshops; trained mentors; study groups and courses during our weekly early release Curriculum and Staff Improvement (CSI) sessions; and training for mentors. Equally important is ensuring that evaluators and supervisors have ongoing training to provide optimal support to teachers.

The district Non-Tenure Review process is a means of ensuring teacher quality and support. During late January through early March a Central Office team that includes the Executive and Assistant Directors of Human Resources, the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment visits each of our schools to discuss the progress and performance of every non-tenured teacher. During these reviews the building principal is present, along with any complementary observers. The evaluator presents a summary of the teacher’s strengths and areas for improvement. The Central Office team reviews the teacher’s file and asks relevant questions related to the teacher’s instructional practice, levels of content area expertise, ability to analyze data and student work, response to feedback and coaching, ability to form relationships with students, families, and colleagues, communication, collaboration, professionalism, personal reflection and self-assessment aligned with the evaluation frameworks. Special attention is paid to the teacher’s reflection and goal-setting, performance on formal and informal observations, and level of reflection and self-assessment on required teacher evaluation tasks. In-depth dialogue occurs among members to determine if additional resources or strategies are necessary to support the teacher’s development.

The Non-Tenure Review process is an accountability practice. When evaluators are required to engage in a dialogue with their superiors regarding a teacher’s performance over time, better decisions regarding teacher tenure are made. Principals and evaluators appreciate the opportunity to discuss strategies for improvement. Every year there are a small number of teachers who do not demonstrate the potential for excellence in our school district, even with the resources and guidance provided. These difficult conversations result in making certain that we grant tenure only to those teachers who are clearly accomplished and are well on their way to being master teachers. Decisions regarding renewal of tenured teachers will be shared with teachers in writing prior to March 15 of each school year.

Definition of Effectiveness and Ineffectiveness

The West Hartford Public Schools’ Teacher Evaluation and Development Program follows the State model in defining teacher effectiveness based on a pattern of annual summative ratings. A teacher shall generally be deemed ineffective if he or she receives one of the following:

• at least two sequential Developing ratings (ratings of 2); OR

• one Below Standard rating (a rating of 1) at any time.

When a non-tenured teacher is determined to be ineffective, the teacher may be placed in the Teacher Assistance Plan, or the teacher’s employment may be terminated through non-renewal or termination. When a tenured teacher is determined to be ineffective, that teacher shall be placed in the Teacher Assistance Plan.

Teacher Improvement and Remediation

The West Hartford Public Schools’ Teacher Evaluation and Development Program aims to provide an evaluatee with the focused support necessary to meet the requirements of his or her position. Support for effective professional practice must be highly personalized and provide for a variety of individual experiences. Teachers at all performance levels should expect ongoing routine support related to identified growth areas.

When a teacher has not responded to routine support and feedback regarding specific aspects of performance, or when a specific area of concern is identified by the evaluator and clearly communicated to the teacher, the teacher and evaluator will work collaboratively to develop targeted support to address that need.

Targeted support is short-term structured support intended to address a specific area of concern or pattern that is identified through multiple observations during the school year, and may involve struggle with multiple indicators of the Framework. Targeted support may include setting specific professional learning objective(s), focused professional development, and specific focus areas for observations and feedback.

Aspects of performance in need of improvement are documented through direct feedback regarding current levels of performance in observations, formal and informal feedback, reviews of practice, and end of year summative evaluation.

If a teacher’s overall performance is rated as Developing or Below Standard, it signals the need for a greater level of focused support and development. The teacher and the evaluator, along with a bargaining unit representative, will design a remediation plan that includes appropriate stages or levels of support and identifies appropriate district personnel who will provide assistance to the teacher during this process. Support will be provided at one of the following two levels:

Special Assistance – in-depth support provided to an educator who has earned a rating of developing the previous year and/or has not responded to targeted support in a particular area. This support is intended to assist an educator who is having difficulty consistently demonstrating effectiveness.

Intensive Assistance – intensive support provided when an educator has earned a rating of developing for two consecutive years or a rating of below standard the previous year. Support outlined in a formalized Action Plan is intended to build the teacher’s competency.

Teacher Assistance Pathways

Special Assistance

First year with a summative rating of Developing the previous year and/or has not responded to Targeted Assistance.

• Support developed in conversation/collaboration with evaluator, teacher, bargaining unit representative

• Complete a minimum of 3 formal and 2 informal observations

• Areas for growth and support within IF or SESS Framework are clearly identified

Intensive Assistance

Second consecutive year with summative rating of Developing - or - first year with Summative rating of Below Standard

• 45-day intensive assistance Action Plan

• Developed in conversation/collaboration with evaluator, teacher, bargaining unit representative

• Identify targets for performance within IF or SESS Framework

• Observations every two weeks at minimum

• Additional observer completes observation in addition to primary evaluator

• Teacher completes formal reflections after each observation, at the midpoint of the 45-day period, and at end of the 45-day period.

• Evaluator completes a holistic evaluation of practice at the end of the 45-day period.

• End of 45 days - 3 possible outcomes:

1. Teacher demonstrates “effective” practice (Teacher Performance and Practice score is 740 + on Instructional Framework or 815+ on the SESS Framework) - minimum of 3 informal observations for remainder of the current year.

2. Teacher demonstrates growth toward “effective” practice – teacher receives assistance for another 45-day period; revise Action Plan (with outcomes of either #1 or #3 when second 45-day period ends).

3. Teacher demonstrates little or no growth - move to termination.

Once a teacher successfully demonstrates “effective” practice, they move to Probationary Status for the remainder of the current school year and the following school year. Attention is focused on the teacher’s ability to maintain effective teaching practice and performance throughout the probationary period. The chart that follows illustrates the decision paths.

Action Plans for Improvement and Remediation

After consultation with the evaluatee and his or her bargaining representative, the designated evaluator will provide, in writing, to the evaluatee the following information:

• A statement of the objective(s) to be accomplished with the expected level of performance. The objectives(s) should be aligned with the West Hartford Instructional or SESS Framework;

• A statement defining the amount and kind of special assistance to be provided, including the frequency of observations and feedback conferences (generally no fewer than one per school week), specialized professional development, collegial and administrative assistance, and other specialized resources;

• A timeline, not to exceed 45 school days, that includes a timeline for teacher reflection and dates for interim and final reviews. Days of absence for either evaluator or evaluatee may be added to extend the timeline.

• Indicators of success including a rating of effective or better at the conclusion of the improvement and remediation period.

When the timeline has expired, the designated evaluator will complete a teacher assistance evaluation report, which includes the job status decision. The job status decision shall be made on the basis of teacher observation and practice as defined in the West Hartford Instructional or SESS Framework.

• If the designated evaluator determines that the teacher consistently demonstrates effective practice at the end of 45 days, the teacher will move out of the Teacher Assistance Plan and into Probationary Status.

• If the designated evaluator determines that the teacher does not consistently demonstrate effective practice at the end of 45 days, the decision may result in either the teacher remaining in teacher assistance, for a second period, NOT to exceed another 45 days, or a recommendation to the Superintendent that contract termination proceedings be initiated in accordance with Section 10-151, Connecticut Education laws.

For a teacher who remains in teacher assistance for an additional 45-day period, the designated evaluator will complete a teacher assistance evaluation report at the conclusion of the second 45-day which includes the job status decision.

• If the designated evaluator determines that the teacher’s practice is consistently effective at the end of the second 45-day period, the teacher will move out of the Teacher Assistance Plan and into Probationary Status. 

• If the designated evaluator determines that the teacher’s practice is not effective at the end of the extended period, the evaluator shall make a recommendation to the Superintendent that contract termination proceedings be initiated in accordance with Section 10-151, Connecticut Education laws. The following chart outlines the process and options described above.

Teacher Improvement and Remediation Plan

 

Dispute Resolution Procedure

The right of appeal is a required element in the evaluation process and is available to every participant. The appeal procedure is designed to facilitate the resolution of disputes when an evaluator and teacher cannot agree on objectives/goals, the evaluation period, feedback on performance and practice, the professional development plan, or the final summative rating.

• To initiate an appeal, either party must submit Appeal Worksheet I to the Professional Learning and Evaluation Committee (PLEC) through Human Resources. Within three (3) school days of receipt of the appeal, a member of PLEC will send copies of the appeal to the other party.

• Using Appeal Worksheet II, PLEC will promptly schedule a joint meeting of the parties involved, generally within seven (7) school days of the original receipt of the appeal. When an appeal is brought to PLEC, the following will occur:

1. An Appeal Committee, consisting of three (3) PLEC members (one of which will be the Superintendent or his/her designee) with one appointed as chairperson, will meet with both parties simultaneously.

2. The parties will present their concerns, talking with each other only through the committee chair.

3. When the committee is satisfied that they have sufficient information, they will recess to formulate a recommendation.

• When the Appeal Committee has reached consensus, the chairperson will prepare the written recommendation on Appeal Worksheet III which will be delivered to both parties by the committee chair within three (3) school days.

• If the Appeal Committee cannot reach consensus within the time limits set forth above, the decision on the appeal shall be made by the Superintendent.

The decision of the Appeals Committee (or the Superintendent) shall be final, except when the dispute involves an allegation that there has been a violation of the procedures of the evaluation program and the recommendation of the Appeal Committee (or the Superintendent) is not acceptable to the teacher. In such case, the teacher may initiate a Type B Grievance, utilizing either Alternative I or Alternative II. (Consult the current Agreement between the West Hartford Board of Education and the West Hartford Education Association/West Hartford Administrators’ Association for details).

Given the need for prompt resolution of disputes and completion of the evaluation process, however, the decision of the Appeals Committee (or the Superintendent) shall be implemented, and the teacher’s evaluation shall be subject to review upon completion of the grievance procedure.

Career Development and Growth

Rewarding exemplary performance identified through the evaluation process with opportunities for career development and professional growth is a critical step in both building confidence in the evaluation and support system itself and in building the capacity and skills of all teachers.

Examples of such opportunities include, but are not limited to: observation of peers; mentoring early career teachers; participation in the Professional Learning and Evaluation Committee; participating in development of the teacher improvement and remediation plans for peers whose performance is developing or below standard; leading Professional Learning Communities and collaborative inquiry teams; differentiated career pathways; participation in curriculum-based vertical teams or curriculum writing/revision projects; and focused professional learning based on goals for continuous growth and development.

Teacher Practice

Component 1: Teacher Performance and Practice (40%)

The Teacher Performance and Practice component is a comprehensive review of teaching practice conducted through multiple observations, which are evaluated against a standards- based rubric. It comprises 40% of the summative rating. Following observations, evaluators provide teachers with specific feedback to identify strong practice, to identify teacher development needs and to tailor support to meet those needs.

West Hartford Instructional Framework

The West Hartford Instructional Framework is the core document within the evaluation system and is the rubric used to provide the criteria by which a teacher’s performance can be directly measured. The indicators of teaching practice outlined in the rubric have been developed by West Hartford teachers and represent the collective values and beliefs about high quality teaching and learning within the educational community, contributing to a mutual understanding among stakeholders of those practices that are most essential for improving student learning and preparing students to be college and career ready. The WHPS Instructional Framework in closely aligned with the CCT Rubric for Effective Teaching 2017 and the CT Core of Teaching. Teaching practice is described across four focus areas of Classroom Environment, Planning for Active Learning, Instructional Practice for Active Learning, and Professional Responsibilities.

Student and Educator Support Specialist (SESS) Framework

In accordance with the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation, West Hartford has developed a specialized matrix for evaluating Student and Educator Support Specialists based on the Core Requirements for the Evaluation of Student and Educator Support Specialists and the CCT Rubric for Effective Service Delivery 2017. This framework is used in the evaluation of school counselors, school psychologists, speech and language pathologists, school social workers, special education resource teachers, curriculum specialists, reading specialists, and other groups in a service provider role as determined by the PLEC.

https://www.whps.org/offices-and-programs/human-resources/educator-evaluation-development-program
WHPS Student and Educator Support Framework at a glance

 

Professional Learning Objectives

Each teacher will annually develop, through consultation and mutual agreement with their evaluator, two Professional Learning Objectives for the year. These objectives should highlight performance and practice focus areas directly aligned to indicators of the Instructional Framework, reflect district and school priorities, and be informed by results of parent and student surveys. One objective may be a parent goal related to a targeted area of school improvement identified through survey results. Goals selected should a) represent growth areas for the teacher; b) have a direct link to student achievement; and c) have improvement targets that are ambitious and attainable.

Observation Process

Direct classroom observations, when accompanied by specific, evidencebased feedback delivered in a timely manner, provide teachers with valuable opportunities to develop and reach their full potential. West Hartford’s Teacher Evaluation and Development Program provides all teachers with multiple opportunities to be observed formally and informally and receive both verbal and written feedback about their practice. The processes associated with the direct observation of classroom practice are designed in accordance with CT’s Guidelines for Educator Evaluation and vary for our non-tenured and tenured teachers as well as for high-performing and low- performing tenured teachers.

Our plan provides for a combination of announced and unannounced observations in order to capture an authentic view of practice and to promote a culture of openness and comfort with frequent observations and feedback. For purposes of calibration, formal and informal observations are defined as follows:

Formal - Observations that last at least 45 minutes, or a single instructional period, and are preceded by a pre-conference (if announced), are always followed by a post-observation conference, and are followed by timely verbal and written feedback.

Informal - Observations that last at least 10 minutes, are unannounced, and are followed by timely written feedback, and verbal feedback when possible.

• Non-classroom Observations/Reviews of Practice – Observations of aspects of practice other than in-class teaching, include but are not limited to observations of planning, data team or PLC meetings, participation in Collaborative Inquiry Teams, observations of coaching or mentoring other teachers, observations of concerts, special programs or or culminating activities for which the teacher was responsible for producing, facilitation of professional development experiences with colleagues, parent conferences, PPTs, reviews of student work, lesson/unit plans and assessments, or other teaching artifacts, call logs or notes from parent-teacher meetings, and attendance records from professional learning or school-based activities/events.

Please Note: Reviewing lesson plans in a pre-conference, prior to a scheduled observation, generally provides evidence for the planning domain and is considered a part of the formal observation process. It does not serve as a separate observation or review of practice.

All observations must be followed by written feedback provided in a timely manner. For purposes of clarity and consistency, “timely” is defined by this plan as within three work days.

All non-tenured teachers follow the same process, regardless of their rating or years of experience teaching. Upon achieving tenure, teachers are assigned to one of three observation cycles – A, B or C.

Each year, on a rotating basis, one of the three cycles is designated as the “Formal” Observation cycle. Each year, teachers are assigned to an evaluation process based on two factors: (1) their tenure level and (2) their performance level. The table that follows outlines the requirements of the different processes that are in place for the various categories of teachers in our district.

Teacher Process WHPS Observation Requirements
Non-Tenured Teachers – all performance levels

At least 3 in-class formal observations – 1 of which is unannounced, and all of which include a post-conference;

At least 2 in-class unannounced informal observations – one prior to September 30.

Tenured Teachers – Formal observation cycle At least 1 in-class formal observation which includes a pre-conference and post-conference; At least 1 review of practice, documented in writing.
Tenured Teachers – Informal observation cycle At least 3 in-class informal observations; At least 1 review of practice, documented in writing.
Tenured Teachers – Special Assistance (Rating of Developing or Below Standard regardless of the cycle)

At least 3 in-class formal observations – 1 of which is unannounced, and all of which include an post-conference;

At least 2 in-class unannounced informal observations – one prior to September 30.


Pre-conferences are a required component of the formal observation process. Pre-conferences are a valuable opportunity for teachers and evaluators to establish the context for the lesson, discuss important information about the students being observed, set expectations for the observation process and provide the evidence for Focus Area 2 - Planning for Active Learning.

Pre-conferences are required for:

• two of the three required formal observations for non-tenured teachers and

• one required formal observation for tenured teachers in the formal observation cycle.

For each scheduled formal observation, the teacher should complete and submit all pre-observation paperwork to their administrator prior to the pre-observation conference.

Post-conferences provide an opportunity for reflecting on the observation against the West Hartford Instructional Framework and for generating action steps that will lead to the teacher’s improvement. A post-conference is a required step following every formal observation, whether announced or unannounced. Following each formal observation, the teacher should reflect on the lesson in writing and complete and submit this post-observation reflection paperwork to their administrator prior to the post-conference.

A good post-conference:

• Begins with an opportunity for the teacher to share his/her reflections on the lesson;

• Cites objective evidence about the teacher’s successes, what improvements will be made, and where future observations may focus;

• Connects evidence to performance indicators in the Instructional or SESS Framework;

• Connects teacher and student actions to identify the impact of instructional decisions on student learning;

• Involves both written and verbal feedback from the evaluator; and

• Occurs in a timely manner.

For additional guidelines regarding feedback, please see the SEED document.

Observation Scoring

During observations, evaluators should take evidence-based notes of teaching and learning, capturing specific instances of what the teacher and students said and did in the classroom. Once the evidence has been recorded, the evaluator aligns the evidence with the appropriate indicator(s) on the West Hartford Instructional Framework and then determines which performance level the evidence supports for each indicator.

Teacher Performance and Practice Scoring (40%)

At the end of the year, primary evaluators will complete a holistic review of all evidence collected to determine an overall rating of teacher performance and practice across all focus areas of the WHPS Instructional or SESS Framework. Evaluators holistically review evidence collected through observations, interactions and reviews of practice (e.g., team meetings, conferences, etc.) and use professional judgment to determine a rating on each indicator of the framework. An Excel spreadsheet is used to catalog and accurately weight the ratings for each focus area as follows to derive total performance and practice score for each teacher:

Classroom Environment – 25%

Planning for Active Learning – 20%

Instructional Practice for Active Learning – 40% Professional Responsibilities – 15%

Primary evaluators will discuss this rating with teachers during the end-of-year conference.

Evaluators may also follow this process in advance of the mid-year conference to discuss with teachers their formative progress related to the Teacher Performance and Practice rating.

The total Performance and Practice score obtained above contributes 40% to a teacher’s overall summative rating for the year.

Evidence Collection that Supports a Holistic Evaluation Process

The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program is a holistic evaluation. As such, evidence is collected about all aspects of a teacher’s practice. Classroom observations generally provide the most evidence for Focus Areas 1 and 3 of the West Hartford Instructional and SESS Frameworks. Non-classroom observations/reviews of practice generally provide the most evidence for Focus Areas 2 and 4 of the West Hartford Instructional and SESS Frameworks. Pre-and post-conferences provide the opportunity for discussion of all four focus areas, including practice outside of classroom instruction (e.g., lesson plans, reflections on teaching).

Because the West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program aims to provide teachers with comprehensive feedback on their practice as defined by the four focus areas of West Hartford Instructional or SESS Framework, all interactions with teachers that are relevant to their instructional practice/service delivery and professional conduct may contribute to their performance evaluations When information collected outside of formal or informal observations significantly influences the overall scoring of a teacher’s performance, written feedback will be provided detailing the evidence and the impact it has on the teacher’s overall summative evaluation.

Component 2: Parent Feedback (10%)

The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program includes parent feedback in the evaluation of its teachers. Feedback collected from parents is used to determine the remaining portion of the Teacher Performance and Practice rating and constitutes 10% of a teacher’s overall summative rating.

Parent Survey Guidelines

Parent surveys are conducted and scored at the whole-school level as opposed to the teacher level. Parent surveys must be administered in a way that allows parents to feel comfortable providing feedback without fear of retribution. Surveys must be confidential, and survey responses should not be tied to parents’ names. Parent surveys will be administered every spring and trends analyzed from year to year.

Arriving at a Parent Feedback Rating

The process for determining the parent feedback rating includes the following steps:

1. The school conducts a whole-school parent survey in the spring of each year.

2. Prior to the start of each school year, administrators and teachers review spring survey results and determine several school-level parent goals based on the survey feedback. Ideally, this goal-setting process would occur between the evaluator and teachers (possibly during faculty meetings) in August or September so agreement can be reached on two to three improvement goals for the entire school.

3. Evaluator and teacher review progress with parent engagement efforts at mid-year conferences;

4. Evaluator determines an aggregate rating for the school and assigns all teachers this rating based on four performance levels.

An important part of the evaluator’s job is to ensure that the teacher goals are related to the overall school improvement parent goals, and that improvement targets are aligned, ambitious and attainable.

Parent feedback will be aggregated and reviewed during the End-of-Year meetings wherein evaluators will determine the degree to which the targets set at the beginning of the year were met.

Based on the aggregate progress across the school, the evaluator will assign a rating to all teachers and record the rating on page 2 of the summative spreadsheet and in the corresponding portion of each teacher’s electronic Summative Evaluation form (Form I). Parent survey results are rated as follows:

Level 1: Did not meet goal

Level 2: Partially met goal

Level 3: Met goal

Level 4: Exceeded goal

Student Outcomes

Component 3: Student Growth and Development (45%)

Overview of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs)

SLOs are carefully planned, long-term academic objectives that reflect high expectations for learning or improvement and aim for mastery of content or skill development. SLOs are written as broad goal statements for student learning that identify core ideas, domains, knowledge and/or skills students are expected to acquire for which baseline data indicate a need. Teachers with similar assignments may have identical SLOs although they will be individually accountable for their own students’ results.

SLOs are measured by Indicators of Academic Growth and Development (IAGDs) which include specific assessments/measures of progress and targets for student mastery or progress. Indicators should be aspirational in nature, reflecting high expectations for student growth that will realize greater improvement in student performance. Because each teacher’s students differ, it is imperative that teachers and evaluators take into account each teacher’s assignment, students, and context when setting SLOs and IAGDs. The final determination of SLOs and IAGDs is made through mutual agreement between the teacher and his/her evaluator with a minimum of 2 IAGDs resulting from the objectives set for the year. The steps in the SLO process are outlined and described below.

SLO Phases

 

PHASE 1: Review the Data

The process of developing SLOs begins with reviewing district initiatives and key priorities, school/district improvement plans and the building administrator’s goals. Once teachers know their class rosters, they should examine multiple sources of data about their students’ performance to identify an area(s) of need. Documenting the “baseline” data, or where students are at the beginning of the year, is a key aspect of this step. It allows the teacher to identify where students are with respect to the grade level or content area the teacher is teaching.

Examples of data to be used in developing an SLO include but are not limited to the following:

• Initial performance on writing samples, student interest surveys, preassessments, etc.

• Results from standardized and non-standardized assessments

• Report cards from previous years

• Results from diagnostic assessments

• Artifacts from previous learning

• Feedback from other teachers across grade levels and content areas who have previously taught the same students

• Conferences with students’ families

• Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans

• Data related to English Language Learners (ELL) and gifted and talented students

• Attendance records

• Information about families, community and other local contexts

It is important that the teacher has a clear understanding of both the individual student and group strengths and challenges since this information serves as the foundation for setting the ambitious yet realistic goals in the next step of the process.

PHASE 2: Set SLOs as Student Learning Goals

The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program requires that each teacher, through mutual agreement with her/his evaluator, select one or more SLOs to measure student growth and development. For each SLO, the teacher will select at least one Indicator of Academic Growth and Development (IAGD) to measure student improvement. The number of SLO and IAGD’s can vary by teacher as long as each teacher meets the minimum requirement of 2 IAGDs annually.

For any teacher whose primary responsibility is not the direct instruction of students, the mutually agreed upon SLO and indicators shall be based on the assigned role of the teacher. The Indicators of Academic Growth and Development used as evidence of whether SLOs are met shall be determined through the comparison of data across assessments administered over time. State mastery test data will be used to inform goal-setting and professional learning but will not be used as a measure of SLO/goal attainment or to calculate the final summative rating.

The decision regarding the number of SLOs established for the year rests with the teacher, as long as there is alignment with the needs identified within the review of applicable data and the criteria for having at least two (2) IAGDs is met.

Decide on the SLOs

The SLOs are broad goal statements for student learning and expected student improvement. These goal statements identify core ideas, domains, knowledge and/or skills students are expected to acquire for which baseline data indicate a need. Each SLO should address a central purpose of the teacher’s assignment and should pertain to a large proportion of her/his students, including specific target groups. Each SLO statement should reflect high expectations for student learning, at least a year’s growth (or a semester’s growth for shorter courses), and should be aligned to relevant district, state or national standards for the grade level or course. Depending on the teacher’s assignment, an SLO statement might aim for content mastery or it might aim for skill development. Teachers with similar assignments may have identical SLOs although they will be individually accountable for their own students’ results.

The following examples of SLOs are taken from the CT SEED Handbook 2017:

Grade/Subject Student Learning Outcomes
6th Grade Social Studies Students will produce effective and well-grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences.
9th Grade Information Literacy Students will master the use of digital tools for learning to gather, evaluate and apply information to solve problems and accomplish tasks.
11th Grade Algebra Students will be able to analyze complex, real-world scenarios using mathematical models to interpret and solve problems.
9th Grade English/Language Arts Students will cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
1st and 2nd Grade Tier 3 Reading Students will improve reading accuracy and comprehension leading to an improved attitude and approach toward more complex reading tasks

 

Select Indicators of Academic Growth and Development (IAGDs)

An Indicator of Academic Growth and Development (IAGD) is an assessment/ measure of progress with a quantitative target that will demonstrate whether the SLO was met. Each SLO must include at least one IAGD but may include multiple, differentiated IAGDs where appropriate.

One half (22.5%) of the indicators of academic growth and development used as evidence of whether goals/objectives are met shall not be determined by a single isolated standardized test score, but shall be determined through the comparison of data across assessments administered over time, including a standardized indicator for grades and subjects where available and appropriate. Those without an available standardized indicator will select, through mutual agreement subject to the local dispute-resolution process of the Guidelines for Educator Evaluation, an additional non-standardized indicator. For the other half (22.5%) of the IAGDs, there may be a:

• Minimum of one non-standardized indicator, and

• Maximum of one additional standardized indicator, if there is mutual agreement.

In the calculation to determine the summative student growth and development rating, the SLOs are weighted equally, each representing 22.5% of the final summative rating.

The following flow chart may help to determine appropriate IAGDs:

determine iagd

As stated in the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation, a standardized assessment is characterized by the following attributes:

• Administered and scored in a consistent – or “standard” – manner;

• Aligned to a set of academic or performance “standards”;

• Commonly-administered (e.g., nation-, state- or district-wide); and

• Often administered only once a year, although some standardized assessments are administered two or three times per year.

IAGDs should be aspirational in design – i.e., rigorous, attainable and meet or exceed district expectations (rigorous targets reflect both greater depth of knowledge and complexity of thinking required for success). Each indicator should be written in SMART goal format (i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Oriented, Time-Bound), and should make clear:

• What evidence/measure of progress will be examined;

• What levels of performance are targeted; and

• What proportion of students is projected to achieve each targeted performance level.

IAGDs should capture all students including student subgroups, such as high or low-performing students or ELL students. It is through the initial examination of student data that teachers will determine what level of performance to target for which population(s) of students.

IAGDs are unique to the teacher’s particular students; teachers with similar assignments may use the same assessment(s)/measure of progress for their SLOs, but it is unlikely they would have identical targets established for student performance. For example, all second grade teachers in a district might set the same SLO and use the same reading assessment (measure of progress) to measure their SLOs, but the target(s) and/or the proportion of students expected to achieve proficiency would likely vary among second grade teachers. Additionally, individual teachers may establish multiple differentiated targets for students achieving at various performance levels. The following are examples of IAGDs associated with the sample SLOs presented earlier in this document:

SLOs and IAGDs

 

Submit SLOs to Evaluator for Review

SLOs are proposals until the teacher and the evaluator mutually agree upon them. Prior to the Goal-Setting Conference, the evaluator will review each SLO relative to the following criteria to ensure that SLOs across subjects, grade levels, and schools are both rigorous and comparable:

• Baseline and trend data used to set SLOs

• Student population

• Standards and learning content

• Interval of Instruction for the SLO

• Assessments/measures of Progress

• Growth targets

• Instructional strategies and supports needed to achieve the SLOs

Resource: SLO Development Guide is available on the CSDE CT SEED website to support this process.

PHASE 3: Monitor Student Progress

Once SLOs are finalized, teachers should monitor students’ progress towards the objectives by examining student work, administering interim assessments, and regularly tracking students’ accomplishments and struggles. Progress towards SLOs/IAGDs and action steps for achieving progress should be referenced in feedback conversations throughout the year.

If a teacher’s assignment changes, or if his/her student population shifts significantly, the SLOs can be adjusted during the mid-year conference as mutually agreed upon by the evaluator and the teacher.

PHASE 4: Assess Student Outcomes Relative to SLOs

At the end of the school year, the teacher will collect the evidence required by their IAGDs, compile a summary and analysis of data, identify relevant artifacts, reflect in writing on the SLO outcomes, and submit all of this information to their evaluator using the electronic H2 form in the Talent Ed Perform system. Evaluators will review the evidence submitted along with the teacher’s selfassessment and assign one of four ratings to each SLO: Exceeded, Met, Partially Met, or Did Not Meet.

These ratings are defined as follows:

Exceeded (4): A notable percentage of students substantially exceeded the targets and all or nearly all of the remaining students met the targets

Met (3): All or nearly all students met the targets. Those exceeding or falling below fell within a very small margin of the targets

Partially Met (2): A notable percentage of students fell substantially below the targets while the remaining students met the targets. Progress toward the goal was inconsistent.

Did Not Meet (1): All or nearly all students did not meet the targets. Little or no progress toward the goal was made overall.

Guidelines for Compiling and Reflecting on Data Related to SLO Outcomes

Recognizing that SLOs are evaluated using a variety of measures, and that the type of data collected by teachers in different disciplines as evidence of SLO achievement varies widely, it is the goal of this plan to support teachers in their ability to comprehensively analyze, communicate, and reflect on their annual progress with SLOs, as well as to assist evaluators in accurately assessing teacher SLO outcomes in the most calibrated manner possible.

To that end, and after reviewing a wide range of sample documents prepared by teachers in this district, the West Hartford Professional Learning and Evaluation Committee (PLEC) identified a number of key features that hallmark effective data presentation. To ensure clear, comprehensive reporting of SLO outcomes by all teachers, as well as fair, accurate, calibrated assessment of SLO outcomes by evaluators, summative data reporting by teachers should:

• Be explicit and comprehensive

• Include both a visual component and narrative

• Include clear display of evidence

• Include baseline data, targets, and final outcomes for all students

• Include pertinent student details

Teachers should attach their SLO data summaries to their end-of-year SLO SelfAssessment (Form H2) when submitting it electronically

Explanation of Scoring Criteria

During the 2017-18 school year, the Professional Learning and Evaluation committee (PLEC) carefully reviewed the language used to define SLO ratings and further clarified criteria for each rating in order to remove ambiguities and ensure accurate and consistent interpretation and reporting of SLO results among individual teachers and evaluators, and within and across buildings, levels, and departments.

The language used to describe the ratings is deliberately qualitative, affording evaluators and teachers the opportunity to engage in honest dialogue regarding the unique attributes of each teacher’s caseload and afford teachers and evaluators appropriate flexibility to consider attributes and circumstances unique to their cohort when scoring the SLO and evaluating the teacher’s ability to impact the growth of his or her students throughout the year. The visuals provided below should further clarify the language and assist teachers and evaluators in assigning the appropriate rating to the outcomes achieved.

explanation of scoring criteria

 

Student Growth and Development Scoring (45%)

Each SLO is scored using the rating criteria described above. For SLOs with more than one IAGD, the evaluator will score each indicator separately and enter the scores in the corresponding boxes on page 3 of the Summative Worksheet. The spreadsheet will automatically average the individual IAGD and/or SLO scores and compute a total Student Growth and Development rating. Evaluators will then transfer the final score to the teacher’s electronic Summative Evaluation Form I. The final Student Growth and Development rating for a teacher is the average of their SLO scores to the nearest hundredth. The final Student Growth and Development rating will be shared and discussed with the teacher during the End-of-Year Conference.

Component 4: Student Feedback (5%)

The West Hartford Teacher Evaluation and Development Program includes student feedback in the evaluation of its teachers. Five percent (5%) of a teacher’s evaluation is based on student feedback collected utilizing district-generated surveys. The district uses various delivery models to ensure higher rates of return, fairness, and reliability relative to student surveys.

Student Survey Guidelines

Student surveys are conducted and scored at the whole-school level as opposed to the teacher level. Surveys are confidential and survey responses will not be tied to students’ names. Support is provided to teachers in the administration of student surveys to ensure that students feel comfortable providing feedback without fear of retribution. Instructions are provided with each survey to ensure that each survey is administered to students in such a way as to yield the best possible feedback for growth in teacher practice. Student surveys are administered every spring and trends analyzed from year to year.

Arriving at a Student Feedback Summative Rating

The process for determining the student feedback rating includes the following steps:

1. The school conducts student feedback surveys in the spring of each year.

2. Prior to the start of each school year, administrators and teachers should review spring survey feedback and determine several school-level student feedback goals for the entire school.

3. Evaluator and teacher review progress with student feedback goals at midyear conferences.

4. Evaluator determines an aggregate student feedback rating for the school and assigns all teachers this rating based on four performance levels.

An important part of the evaluator’s job is to ensure that the teacher goals are related to the overall school improvement student feedback goals, and that the improvement targets are aligned, ambitious and attainable. As with parent feedback, student feedback will be aggregated and reviewed during the endof-year meetings wherein evaluators will determine the degree to which the teacher and school student feedback targets set at the beginning of the year were met. Based on the aggregate progress across the school, the evaluator will assign a student feedback rating to all teachers as follows:

Level 1: Did not meet goal

Level 2: Partially met goal

Level 3: Met goal

Level 4: Exceeded goal

Summative Teacher Evaluation Scoring

The summative teacher evaluation rating is based on the four components, grouped into the two major categories of Student Outcomes and Teacher Practice. Every educator will receive one of four performance ratings for each of the two major categories and their overall summative evaluation:

• Exemplary

• Effective

• Developing

• Below Standard

Determining the Summative Rating

Once a teacher’s scores have been determined for each of the four components and entered by the evaluator onto pages 1-4 of the Summative Evaluation Excel spreadsheet, the spreadsheet will automatically calculate the teacher’s score for each of the two major categories (i.e., Teacher Practice and Student Outcomes) as well as an Overall Summative Rating for the year.

For purposes of explanation, the following process is used to calculate the overall summative rating:

1. The Teacher Practice score is calculated by combining the observation of teacher performance and practice score and the parent feedback score. The observation of teacher performance and practice counts for 40% of the total rating and parent feedback counts for 10% of the total rating. These weights are multiplied by the component scores to determine the category points. The points are then translated to a rating using the rating table below.

2. The Student Outcomes score is calculated by combining the student growth and development score and the student feedback score. The student growth and development component counts for 45% of the total rating and the student feedback component counts for 5% of the total rating. These weights are multiplied by the component scores to determine the category points. The points are then translated to a rating using the rating table below.

3. Evaluators use the Summative Matrix to determine the Summative Rating.

Rating Table:

Total Category Points Performance Level Rating
175-200 Exemplary
125-174.99 Effective
75-124.99 Developing
50-74.99 Below Standard

 

Summative Matrix

Using the ratings determined for each major category, Student Outcomes Related Indicators and Teacher Practice-Related Indicators, follow the respective column and row to the center of the matrix. The point of intersection indicates the summative rating.

summative matrix

 

Adjustment of Summative Rating

Summative ratings must be provided for all teachers by June 30 of each year. Not later than September 15, of each year, the Superintendent shall report to the Commissioner of Education the status of the implementation of teacher evaluations, including the frequency of evaluations, aggregate evaluation ratings, the number of teachers who have not been evaluated and other requirements.