November 17, 2011
Report : TAP Teacher Evaluation in Lucia Mar Unified Helps Teachers Thrive
While research has proven that great teachers have a significant long-term impact on student learning, a majority of school systems in California fail to provide the support teachers need to grow in their craft—notes a report released today (PDF) by Education Trust-West and Teach Plus Los Angeles.
In "Improving Teacher Evaluation in California," the education organizations take a serious look at problems plaguing teacher evaluation, and urge California teachers to explore three new, useful evaluation processes that help teachers at all levels improve. Lucia Mar Unified School District—which implements TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement—is cited as a model to follow, along with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the College-Ready Promise.
"California's current teacher evaluation system is broken," states Education Trust-West and Teach Plus Los Angeles in the report. "If we do not support and develop our teachers, if we refuse to have honest conversations about how teaching affects student learning, if we avoid using evaluations to inform continuous improvement, and if we overlook high-performing teachers as a critical resource to all, then teachers will never reach their full potential as professionals."
Lucia Mar Unified is the first California district to implement the TAP system. At play in seven schools, TAP uses evaluation results to provide teachers with powerful and sustained opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, accountability and competitive compensation. The model includes four observations each year, two announced and two unannounced, conducted by multiple trained evaluators using master teachers. Contributions to student learning growth are incorporated into the evaluations, using both individual and schoolwide value-added scores.
The report commends the Lucia Mar Unified School District for "improving teacher evaluations as a critical way to improve both teaching and student outcomes" and highlights the "pioneering effort" as one to "watch closely" to . . . "glean lessons learned for the rest of California."
Rachel Hodgeson, Mentor Teacher, Lowery Intermediate School, Ascension Parish, Louisiana
"Because I teach students on campus just as they do, teachers know I am 'in the trenches' alongside them, and that has earned me a certain respect and has opened classroom doors that might have otherwise been closed . . . We have all grown exponentially through working in a TAP school, and our students reap the benefits daily."