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Schools Choose ‘Danielson’ Model For New Teacher Evaluations

State mandated change will be phased in this year, with full implementation next year, officials say

Mahwah teachers will begin to be evaluated according to a new model this year, Interim Superintendent Dr. Karen Lake said Wednesday.

The “Danielson Model,” developed by Princeton-based educational consultant Charlotte Danielson, is one of the options the state has offered as part of its teacher evaluation overhaul.

As per state requirements, the new system will begin to be implemented in this year, and will be fully implemented next school year, Lake said. The district has already had one meeting with administrators about the model, and plans to discuss it with the entire teaching staff at an upcoming meeting before the first day of school, she said.

Though Lake commented that the Danielson Model is “not so different from what we are currently doing,” the change-over will not happen immediately. The first evaluations of the year will be carried out the old way, she said.

According to a January NY Times article, the Danielson model emphasizes four areas in terms of teacher evaluations: “the quality of questions and discussion techniques; a knowledge of students’ special needs; the expectations set for learning and achievement; and the teacher’s involvement in professional development activities. The section for assessing the strength of the classroom-learning environment has 15 criteria — down to the placement of furniture.”

The method also contains training for administrators on how to carry out the evaluations, and is designed to provide meaningful feedback on how teachers can improve and correct any issues it identifies, the report says.

According to NJSpotlight.com, about 30 percent of New Jersey schools already use the model, and so far it has proven most popular amongst the state-offered options for new evaluation systems.

Lake said she thinks uniformity will be the one major takeaway from the change over to the state’s new system. “The most important thing will be uniformity across the state in terms of the teacher evaluation process,” she said. “I think that will be the major difference.”

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Andy Schmidt August 30, 2012 at 11:44 AM
I wish the school board would develop a standard "exit interview" form for teachers and principals that would invite parents to provide feedback and insight AFTER a school year that the administration otherwise might never hear. While that kind of "anecdotal" evidence can never be used for an evaluation (because there is a good chance that much of the feedback might be based on isolated incidents for which there may be more than one explanation) - it would identifying scenarios that repeat year after year and thus point to potential areas of improvement for certain staff members and/or schools. There are staff members that every year receive raving reviews by different parents and there are staff members that are known to have problems that year after year a new group of students are subjected to! Focusing positive and negative attention on both would be an opportunity to reward excellence and address inferiority.
Maria August 30, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I agree with Andy 100%.

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