A few great questions about observations came up today (see below). Please let me know when you or a colleague has any questions about APPR, I’ll do my best to clarify and/or get answers from the administration as soon as possible.
Q: How will the outside observations conducted earlier in the year be calculated into our APPR score?
We’re sort of in flux between the old and new plan when it comes to observations. We are moving toward the new regs which require multiple observations with at least one by an outside observer which is not more than 20%, not less than 10% of observation score. We agreed with the district to make that ratio 90/10 (principal/outside observer). We’ll use that number this year as well in anticipation of next year’s new plan.
Q: Will observations by outside administrators be announced?
We’ve asked (and agreed with) the district to make outside observations announced so teachers won’t be totally caught off guard with a new face in their classroom. The day will be announced not the exact schedule; so a teacher will know that the observation team will be in the building but won’t necessarily know that Casey or Deric, for instance, will be observing them. This announcement is more of a professional courtesy than an effort to game the numbers since the outside observer actually has the least impact on the final score. We do think it’s reasonable to let the teacher know when guests will be attending their classes. Formal observations (with pre and post-conferences etc.) will still be planned per the WDEA contract for non-tenured teachers.
Q: Should teacher and evaluator be sure to meet so that evaluator has a clear understanding to how that 10 minute snap shot fits into the BIG picture of the teaching process?
I encourage teachers to provide background info about their lessons to both principal and outside observers (imagine the athletic director observing a kindergarten music class with no background knowledge in the subject). Teachers will always have the opportunity to comment on an observation and/or meet with the observer as they see fit. I will continue to encourage the admin to plan more than 2 observations per teacher. Two is really the bare minimum. Teachers will continue to have the opportunity to invite an administrator into their classrooms at their discretion to share their teaching, a noteworthy lesson, student work or a concern.