Low-performing educators could lose jobs

Jul 24, 2013 by

Metro preps to use data to remove low-performing educators

As many as 63 Metro teachers could be fired this fall under a new policy orchestrated by Director of Schools Jesse Register to dismiss teachers with chronically low-performing state evaluation scores.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Metro school officials said 195 out of some 6,000 Nashville teachers received a score of 1 out of a high of 5 on state-mandated evaluations during the 2011-12 school year, but only 63 of these teachers remain employed today.

For the first time since Tennessee adopted a controversial teacher evaluation system two years ago, Register is preparing to use its data as a reason to remove low-performing teachers, as The Tennessean reported last week. Consecutive scores of 1 for back-to-back years would warrant dismissal under his plan. Evaluations from the 2012-13 school year are still under review.

Officials expect to know the exact number of teachers who might be dismissed in the early fall. Terminations would be subject to school board approval.

“No one in the school district takes the dismissal of a teacher lightly at all,” said Katie Cour, Metro’s executive director of talent strategy. “It will be a thorough process.”

The school board on Tuesday, however, spent less time debating that particular policy — which the state doesn’t mandate — and far more time on the state evaluation system itself, as well as Metro’s teacher dismissal process in general.

The evaluation system, dubbed the Tennessee Evaluation Acceleration Model, uses subjective in-class observations for half of its scoring criteria, and student growth and achievement for the remainder.

Two weeks ago, Register recommended the firing of a Lockeland Elementary Design Center teacher for several alleged examples of “unprofessional conduct” as well as the teacher’s two years of low evaluation scores. In an unusual move, however, the board overrode the superintendent and retained the teacher.

Some board members have concerns about adopting a new standard to eliminate low-scoring teachers. “What I hear from teachers is that they don’t trust it,” board member Jill Speering said. “I’m concerned about it.”

Strategic plan

Also Tuesday, Register’s administration unveiled what it’s calling the district’s five-year strategic plan, an all-encompassing vision for Metro that won’t be entirely finalized for some time. Administrators released a preliminary plan to the board in May.

Its three tenets: Achieve, Grow and Empower. Components range from expanding technology in classroom and ensuring student diversity in schools to cultivating new leaders from teachers and principals.

The plan, the evolution of Register’s reform agenda known as MNPS Achieves, which he implemented when he arrived in Nashville in 2009, sets out several measurable goals by 2018. Among them:

• 60 percent of MNPS students will advance at least one achievement level on annual state assessments.

• 71 percent of MNPS students will be proficient on the annual state assessment.

• 40 percent of elementary and middle school students will project to score a 21 or higher on the ACT.

• 50 percent of high school students will score a 21 or higher on the ACT.

• 75 percent of MNPS high school students will be enrolled in at least one course for college credit while every student will take associated exams and pass them.

via As many as 63 Metro Nashville teachers could lose jobs | The Tennessean | tennessean.com.

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