D.C. evaluation chief responds
Jason Kamras, who runs the IMPACT program, had these comments on a slightly different draft of the column:
Mathews: In that rush forward, Barron says supervisors are changing the rules. Barron interviewed last year to be a Master Educator. When she asked if these evaluators could provide extra advice and support to teachers who needed it, as was done by coaches in Michigan, she was told no. When she was asked at the end of the interview if she thought she would be a good fit for the job, she said no. But recently some Master Educators told Barron that those were the old rules. They now encourage teachers to meet with them after hours to discuss their weaknesses.
Kamras: This is simply not accurate. We never told Master Educators that they were prohibited from providing additional advice and support to teachers. On the contrary, the position description explicitly indicated that providing professional development would be expected. Furthermore, I have always encouraged the MEs to provide guidance to teachers. The only constraint on this is their time. Some MEs have taken it upon themselves to conduct “mobile office hours,” during which they visit classrooms (upon request), model lessons, discuss pedagogical challenges, examine student work, etc. Others have conducted professional development sessions for specific content areas. Still others have developed resource packets to help struggling teachers. Next year we are increasing the number of MEs so that each one will have fewer observations to complete and more time to conduct professional development.
Mathews: Barron was told to observe and fill out a classroom visit form for each of her teachers identical to the one used by the official evaluators. This was to get them in tune with the process, but Barron concluded it was a violation of the D.C. teacher contract, which bars teachers from evaluating their peers. She had declined to do that. Instead invites her teachers to fill out the form themselves, and come see her to discuss improvements they want to make in their classroom methods.
Kamras: Again, this is simply not accurate. There is absolutely nothing illegal or inappropriate about an Instructional Coach using the IMPACT evaluation form to provide feedback to teachers. Such feedback is not part of the formal evaluation process. I would argue that using the form helps teachers as it aligns the feedback with the expectations of the evaluation process.
| February 3, 2010; 9:59 PM ET
Categories: Jay on the Web | Tags: IMPACT, Jason Kamras
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