Cape school board discusses new teacher evaluation system

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The 2012-2013 school year will be a year of transition for teacher evaluations in the Cape Girardeau School District.

The Missouri Model Teacher and Leaders Standards, a new system of teacher evaluation, will be eased in throughout the remainder of the school year and will replace the Performance Based Teacher Evaluation system the district has relied upon to evaluate educators.

The new system, discussed Monday night during the school board meeting, involves a scoring of teacher performance that will be based on nine standards: content knowledge; understanding and encouraging student learning; recognition of the importance of curriculum development; usage of a variety of instructional strategies; teacher understanding of individual and group motivation; effective verbal, nonverbal and media communication techniques; use of student assessment data to analyze and modify instruction; assessment of choices and actions on others; and effective working relationships with students, parents and colleagues.

Assistant superintendent Dr. Sherry Copeland said that teachers will be evaluated in regard to how they adhere to the standards and that the new system will accurately reflect their overall performance.

"This won't be the dog-and-pony show that some school districts use when it comes to evaluating teachers," Copeland said. "The new system of evaluations will be done often, not just once a year. Some teachers who are seen as being able to 'walk on water' may not score so well under the new system."

But Copeland stressed that the new system is designed to identify areas of weakness, and also strength, in a teacher and not punish them.

"Teachers will appreciate the focus on how we're trying to help them," she said. "We want to make them the best of the best, and the new system will help us pin-point where they need to improve. But, make no mistake, teachers who score low will have to grow."

Copeland said that the new program will ultimately lead to better-educated Cape Girardeau children.

"When teachers are able to see where they need improvement and make improvements as needed, it is the children of our school district who will be the winners."

Superintendent Dr. James Welker said that he approved of the program and looks forward to its implementation.

"I've been encouraged with the feedback I've been getting about the new evaluation system," Welker said. "Teachers and administrators alike seem to be ready to adapt to the system and already have an understanding of its criteria and the jargon that goes with it. This will help us develop highly qualified teachers, and any system that does that is obviously worthwhile."

Other action

The board also heard from James Pitker of McCarthy Construction who reported that the work on the new Franklin School building is coming along as scheduled and the project should be completed within the coming weeks. The project was financed by $40 million in bonds approved by voters in 2010.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

308 E. Clark St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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