SPOILER ALERT: Highly Effective rated teachers still need a minimum of three observations a year.
First a message from Chancellor Fariña followed by a message from UFT President Michael Mulgrew.
As you prepare for time off with friends and loved ones, I want to share an important update regarding changes to our teacher and principal development and evaluation systems.
Today I announced that the City has reached agreements with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) regarding evaluation plans for teachers and principals. Our system aligns to New York State Education Law §3012-d, as well as to the Board of Regents Regulations that prohibit educators from being evaluated based on student performance on grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math State exams until the 2019-20 school year.
Throughout our conversations with the UFT and CSA, our shared focus remained consistent: improving student achievement. I am pleased to say our new teacher and principal evaluation plans, combined with our continued focus on strong professional learning, represents an important step towards this goal.
The new plans will continue to craft high-quality teacher and principal development and evaluation systems based on multiple measures, and systems that create opportunities for educators to continually grow and improve so that all students receive an equitable and excellent education. They will also promote stability for our schools, ensuring school staff can continue to focus on their work in the classroom.
Important highlights from the agreements:
The Measures of Teacher Practice (MOTP) components of Advance remain largely unchanged and any evaluative observations already completed for teachers will be included in this year’s evaluation process, in addition to those observations completed during the remainder of the school year. Guidance regarding reconvening your school-based Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) committees and making MOSL selections will be provided in January 2017. Additionally, we are in the process of applying to the New York State Education Department for a waiver from the Independent Evaluator requirement and will keep you apprised of our progress.
Looking ahead to the 2017-18 school year, we have streamlined observation options to provide more teachers with the opportunity for intentional collaboration, learning alongside both Effective and Highly Effective-rated teachers through classroom visits. We have also begun developing innovative assessments for additional MOSL-eligibility purposes, as well as expanding current options. These assessments include:
· Additional performance-based assessments like the New York City Performance Tasks in additional grades and subjects.
· Expanding progress monitoring assessments to other grades. Currently progress monitors, such as the Running Records, are offered primarily in early childhood grades.
· New project based-learning assessments that build on the work being done when schools use a project-based learning pedagogical approach.
· New student learning inventories which will include a collection of purposeful student work over time.
Evaluative observations already completed by superintendents and Principal Leadership Facilitators will be included in this year’s evaluation process, in addition to those observations completed in the remaining months of the school year. Information on assessments included in principal evaluation MOSL will be available in January 2017.
Additionally, we are working with the CSA to select a new rubric for principal observations (Measures of Leadership Practice). We will pilot two rubrics in the 2017-18 school year. Each rubric will be piloted in one community school district and at schools supervised by one of the City’s high school superintendents, with one rubric to be selected for citywide use beginning in school year 2018-19.
We will continue to keep you updated on implementation plans, and provide ongoing support regarding next steps.
As always, thank you for your tireless work and partnership in ensuring 1.1 million students receive the best education possible.
Today, we wrapped up some important unfinished business on teacher evaluation. In 2015, we were able to get state lawmakers to make some positive changes to the evaluation law. The next step was to negotiate with the city Department of Education to bring the city’s teacher evaluation system into alignment with the new state law. We went into those negotiations saying that any agreement must reduce the impact of standardized test scores, and we achieved that goal.
The new system, when fully implemented, will include more authentic student learning measures — from essays and projects to demonstrations of proficiency in physical education and the arts — that genuinely demonstrate what we do as teachers and what our students are learning. Whatever the assessments chosen to measure student learning, they will carry less weight because the new matrix used to determine final ratings focuses the final rating on each teacher’s strength.
Though this agreement was reached mid-year, our goal is to make the transition to the new system as smooth as possible. The observation option you selected at the start of the year remains in place. In January, your MOSL committee will meet to select the student learning measures your school will use this school year (the choices for this school year are similar to last year).
Teachers deserve a professional evaluation system in which administrators and teachers can work together to improve instruction in a safe and respectful environment. Those are the beliefs that underpin this agreement. If your principal tries to use the teacher evaluation system to play gotcha, that’s not in keeping with the spirit of our agreement and we will fight.
A new, simpler way to score
Starting this school year, you will have one measure of student learning instead of two. That measure will be factored into your final rating in a more straightforward, fairer way.
In the new system, teachers will no longer receive a score between zero and 100. Instead, the DOE will use a matrix to determine your final rating by combining your rating for Measures of Teaching Practice (MOTP) and your rating for Measures of Student Learning (MOSL).
The matrix makes it easy to determine your final rating. You find the box where your MOSL rating and your MOTP rating intersect, and that’s your final rating (see the chart below).
For example, if you receive an Effective in student learning measures and a Developing in teaching practice, your overall rating will be Effective.
Looking ahead: More authentic assessments
The DOE and the UFT are working to build out four Measures of Student Learning for other subjects and grades that would be available as part of your school’s MOSL selection process. The new options will be collaboratively developed by the UFT and the DOE and expanded in later years into grades and subjects where both the UFT and the DOE believe their inclusion in evaluation will be fair for teachers and beneficial for schools. All Measures of Student Learning will be aligned to grade- and subject-level standards and curriculum.
Here are the four measures under development (up from two this school year):
1. Project-Based Learning Assessments (new) are at least partly composed of work that students have developed over time in conjunction with a specific project-based learning unit.
2. Student Learning Inventories (also new) are collections of student work that will include both DOE-developed components as well as classroom artifacts (student work) that capture student growth.
3. Performance-Based Assessments are assessments the UFT and the DOE have collaboratively developed to learn how well a student understands and completes a specific task. These assessments are already a part of our evaluation system but may be expanded into other grades and subjects starting in 2017-2018.
4. Progress Monitoring Assessments are third-party assessments that allow teachers to assess academic performance. Examples include Degrees of Reading Power and Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. These assessments are part of our current evaluation system.
Looking ahead: Modified observation options
Under the new system, there will still be four observation options, but we’ve expanded the choices for teachers rated Effective or Highly Effective in the prior year.
Starting in the 2017–18 school year, teachers rated Effective — in addition to those rated Highly Effective — may choose Observation Options 3, which includes a minimum of four informal, unannounced observations plus teachers agree to open their classrooms to colleagues for at least two non-evaluative classroom visits. Highly Effective teachers may also now choose Observation Option 4, which includes a minimum of three informal, unannounced observations plus three times when teachers open their classrooms for a visiting colleague to observe and learn from their teaching.
As part of our agreement, we were also able to negotiate new safeguards and support for teachers rated Developing and Ineffective.
I realize it’s a lot to digest. That’s why we have put together a new guide that will give you the information you need to know in a simple, easy-to-digest format.
I hope you’ll join us in lobbying Albany this spring to make permanent the current moratorium on using the state ELA and math Common Core tests for students in Grades 3 to 8 to evaluate teachers. That would lock in this new focus on authentic measures of student learning.
Thank you for everything that you do.