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Race to the Top to change teacher evaluations
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To see slides from the presentation at the Nov. 10 Board of Education work session, click here.

RCPS data warehouse to roll out in 2011 (Dec.9, 2010)

Rockdale schools to receive $2.3 million in Race to the Top funds (Oct. 5, 2010)

Ga. a finalist in second round of 'Race to the Top' funds (July 27, 2010)

Rockdale public schools on board for 'Race to the Top' (Dec. 19, 2009)

Teacher and leader evaluations will be changing in Rockdale County Public Schools as part of Race to the Top federal grant funded reforms tying a teacher’s evaluation to student performance and growth. The grant will also offer monetary rewards for high performing teachers and leaders.

Rockdale was one of 26 Georgia school districts signed up when the state was selected for the $200 million Race to the Top grant in 2010. RCPS received about $2.35 million, to be used over five years. About $700,000 of the $2.35 million RCPS received will be set aside for monetary incentives tied to the evaluations. 

The new evaluation system, called the Teacher Keys Evaluation System and the Leader Keys Evaluation System, will have three components, explained Chief Academic Officer Rich Autry.

One component, the assessments based on teacher performance standards, is already currently done. Another component takes into account the performance growth and improvement in the teacher’s students and the amount that the achievement gap is closed. A third component will have surveys filled out by the students on the teacher’s performance. The surveys will be done from grades K-12.

A similar model will be used for evaluating school administrators as well.

Autry said this information came to his office in October. “It’s not like we’ve had a lot of time to process it. The student growth model, the state doesn’t really know what approach they’re going to use. So we can’t educate our teachers at this time what type of growth their students are going to have to demonstrate… There will be further information forthcoming.”

RCPS may begin training for evaluations with a few pilot programs and teachers as early as January 2012. 

“We understood there were going to be some changes, but nobody mentioned we were going to have to begin implementing this by January… it certainly has caused a whirlwind,” said Autry.

Board member Brad Smith asked if students who simply don’t like a tough teacher could bring down the educator’s evaluation through the surveys, even though that person might be a good teacher.

Autry said that scenario was possible. 

Board member Darlene Hotkiss pointed out they didn’t know how much weight was going to be put on the surveys.

Autry said, “Do I have some problems with it? Absolutely. But again, I’m trying to be as optimistic as I can with it.”

“I’m all about input... But you’ve got to be careful with what you do with it. When you attach it to somebody’s livelihood, when you attach it to somebody’s paycheck, you’ve got to be very careful when you do those types of things.”

The RTTT grant aimed to bring standards more towards a common core curriculum model, improve assessments, change teacher and administrator training and evaluations, improve data systems for instruction, and improve low performing schools. Since RCPS does not have any schools that qualify as low performing, the grant funding will go towards the other areas.