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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Are You Ready? MA Educator Evaluation

As a fan of reflection and growth, I've been taking the Massachusetts Educator Evaluation System seriously from the start.

The first summer I analyzed each element of the assessment in the TeachFocus Document.

The second summer I reviewed the elements again with a simpler format in Reflect for Success.

I also created an online ePortfolio to collect and record efforts. I made my ePortfolio public so that other educators could look over the document to inform their own file creation, study, and work.

Further, the Massachusetts Department of Education has created numerous supports for the system on their website and the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) has a great resource as well.

This morning, I looked over my goals and evidence carefully. I noticed the areas that were strong and areas where I can continue to develop my work and practice. I also made a document to host next year's goals and evidence as I always begin thinking about that work in the spring of the previous year.

As one who has traveled this system from the start, I offer the following thoughts and ideas:

Streamline the System and Make it Transparent
Our school system has done a good job streamlining this system. I expect it will be streamlined even more in time. This system does not have to be complex to be effective.

Make All Related Information Accessible
Our system has a website that includes some of the information. The more that you can house the information in one easy-to-access website for your system, the more you will empower all to complete the process without too much trouble.

Educators Take the Lead
I encourage all educators to lead this process with the following actions:
  • Keep track of the wonderful work you do online or offline. Use my ePortfolio as a model of one way that you can navigate this system. Then choose a system, public or private, online or off, that works for you and your evaluators. 
  • Know what's expected. Keep track of all goals, correspondence, and expectations at the State and system levels. Understand those expectations well. For example, I'm well aware of the goals, but I'm still a little fuzzy about our DDMs. I need to ask more questions.
  • Stay ahead of the process. I suggest that you reflect and draft goals during the summer months. Lay out a professional teaching/learning plan in August, then share that plan with your evaluator(s) if you'd like at your fall evaluation conference.
  • Think long term about your professional path and talk to mentors about this. Long term planning will help you to save money and target professional work that serves you well. (I also recommend that you do the same with your long-term financial plans as there are special savings plans and options for educators.)
  • Ask questions. It's better to ask questions than get caught unprepared.
The Massachusetts' Educator Evaluation system is a system that can work well for your long-term growth and development as a professional educator. Working with your colleagues, union, and leadership will help you to navigate this system so that it supports the work you do with and for students well. 

Let me know if there are resources I've missed and that also support successful work with this relatively new system. I'm interested.