District’s Evaluation Committee Gives Update to School Board

The Hudson School Board received an update from the District’s Evaluation Committee during its April 15 meeting.
“We’re going to update you on what we’ve been doing for this year on the Evaluation Committee,” Alvirne High School Social Studies Department Head, Jeff Peterson, told the School Board.
He said they started the Committee in December 2017, and had 20 people from across the District on the Committee.
“The job was to look at the evaluation system we had in place,” Peterson said, explaining that evaluators felt the system could be improved.
He said they were tasked with looking at a new model.
Peterson explained that as part of the research process for the Committee, they looked at what other school districts do, including Nashua, Litchfield, Windham, Merrimack, Merrimack Valley, and Oyster River.
He said it was determined almost all of them either use Kim Marshall’s evaluation system, or a variation of it.

Peterson said the different aspirations for the evaluation model include:

  • Educator growth/ coaching model
  • Advance instructional practice – coaching as opposed to rating the educator.
  • Optimize student learning through instructional practice.
  • Provide objective and timely feedback.

As part of the new evaluation model, 20-minute unscheduled teacher evaluations are done throughout the year.
As part of the process, teachers in their first and second year have two different 20-minute unscheduled observations, which are conducted by either the direct supervisor and or the Building Administrator.
Out of those, one is a scheduled observation with pre and post conferences, and one “summative evaluation” done by the direct supervisor.
For all other teachers, they have three 20-minute unscheduled observations conducted.
Peterson said they have been using the new evaluation system for the past year and are making some revisions to definitions based on feedback, as well as having more dialogue between teachers and administrators on what needs to be improved.
Superintendent, Dan Moulis, explained that with the coaching model, if they notice things that need to be worked on, they can work on giving that teacher feedback.
School Board member, Gary Gasdia, said he thought the 20-minute observations make sense, but was concerned with the lack of incentive to go above and beyond.
“There’s no bite to any of this,” he said, noting that the district doesn’t have any type of merit pay.
Peterson, when asked about the incentive to do more than the minimum, said a lot of teachers have professional pride and want to get better.
On the issue of merit pay, it was noted by the Committee that based on their research, they couldn’t find any districts across the state who use merit pay, and the ones that have had done that in the past have moved away from it.
“Based on committee research, merit pay will have negative effects on collaboration,” the Committee wrote in its power point presentation. “With PLCs currently part of our culture, this would be a disincentive to share lessons that are highly successful or distinguished.”
Moulis noted that the Committee continues to meet regularly and that they are looking to change the frequency of its meetings.
The next Hudson School Board meeting is set to take place on May 6.

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