Twinsburg School board to adopt new evaluation, discipline policies

by Conner Howard | reporter Published:

Twinsburg -- Teachers and administrators in the school district will be graded on their performances with different criteria than in the past, starting in the 2013-2014 school year.

The Board of Education began the process of adopting new evaluation policies at a June 19 special meeting.

The two policies, one each for separate teacher and administrator evaluations, were given their first reading during the meeting and will require a second before being officially signed into practice. Board members expect to approve the policies at the June 26 regular meeting.

Superintendent Kathryn Powers said the new standards for evaluation are required by the Ohio Department of Education and must be adopted by all public schools in the state by July 1. These standards place more emphasis on test scores and value added growth of students. They also make evaluations more frequent.

"With the new laws that were passed recently, what has to happen here now is that teachers are being evaluated in this coming school year, 100 percent of teachers teaching kids have to be evaluated," Powers said. "It used to that it was be cyclical. It would be once every couple years."

Where previous teacher and administrator evaluations weighed heavily on classroom observations, the new standards tie teacher performance into student test scores and principal performance into the growth of their school's students. Both evaluations will be graded on a 50/50 split between observation and achievement growth figures, whereas observation used to form the majority of evaluation scoring.

"The new evaluation process is much more complex," Powers said. "When we evaluate teachers now, 50 percent of their evaluation will be based on student growth and 50 percent is based on classroom observation, involvement and the work of the school. This is a big deal for this policy to get passed. All public schools in Ohio have the same requirement to have this policy passed by July 1.

"The evaluation of the assistant principals and the principals next year will also be based on the 50/50 model," Powers added. "Fifty percent is based on the student growth of the students in their school and 50 percent is based on their performance, which is evaluated against the principal standards in Ohio. It's a lot, in both cases, more complex of a process."

The more frequent evaluations mandated by the new standards will mean more work for Powers and building administrators, said Board member Ron Stuver.

"I think it's going to be good and it's also going to be something that people are going to be a little bit more challenged by, both the people being graded," Stuver said. "But it also adds additional administrative burdens to our principals because there's a lot more that has to go into these evaluations and they have to conduct more evaluations to begin with."

"It does alter the job description of our administrators in the sense that they're going to spend a lot more time evaluating teachers than they have in the past just because of the sheer number of evaluations that are required," added Board member David Andrews. "They're going to be spending a lot more time in the classrooms seeing how the teachers are carrying out their day and implementing their lesson plans and all that sort of stuff."

John Charlton, associate director for media relations with the Ohio Department of Education, said these evaluation standards are expected to be rolled out to all districts in the state in the next two years.

Policies on student

discipline

In addition to the new evaluation policies, the Board also gave first reading to new state standards on the restraint and/or seclusion of belligerent students. This policy lays out the procedures allowed by the state to contain an unruly student, through approved methods such as removing the student from the classroom to mitigate disruption.

"[The policy regards] practices or methods with which students can be restrained or detained, if you will, if there are behavioral problems," Stuver said. "What it really does is it documents for our staff what they can and can't do when there's a troubled student and you have to detain or restrain a student due to behavioral issues. It just documents policy to give teachers and staff a little bit of a framework to know what they are allowed to do and what they shouldn't do."

"This is based entirely on a ODE model policy for compliance with all the various laws associated with this," Andrews added. "Obviously, the world has changed dramatically from the days of spanking in the hallways and this is to be in compliance with all of the laws associated with it."

These student restraint standards are already practiced by the district, according to Andrews. The adoption process begun at the June 19 special meeting only serves to officially sign the policy into record.

"Our buildings have been following those practices for a considerable period of time and this really just puts it into policy and gets us compliant with what the ODE wants us to do as far as having that in writing and having that protocol spelled out," Andrews said.

All three policies were expected to be given their required second readings during the June 26 regular Board meeting.

Email: choward@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9423

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