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Embed code for: MPA Competency 4
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Conduct a clinical evaluation cycle including observation in a typical classroom.
COMPETENCY 4: CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION, AND SUPERVISION
Related Task 4.3
Knowledge of a variety of instructional methods and skills.
Specific Task 4.3.7
Narrative Description of Specific Task:
Carry out a classroom observation and post-observation conference with a consenting colleague, Tammy Crowl 5th grade teacher, using the district's evaluation instrument and procedures. I will prepare a written evaluation based on the classroom observation using the districts reporting format. Interview the staff member after the formal conclusion of the post conference concerning her perceptions about administrative practices and behaviors that facilitate meaningful evaluations and promote growth by staff members. Reflect on the process and what represents good administrative practice.
Narrative Description of Goals
Active participant in committee, helping committee chair lead in completing our plan
I will attend 3 after school meetings
The school improvement plan will be finished by April 2010
Collecting staff input and finding solutions to problems helps the school
By April 2010 I will attend 3 Math subcommittee school improvement meetings
Competency 4: Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision
Classroom Observations at the International Academy of Flint are done two ways. There are informal observations which do not have to be scheduled and serve as an opportunity to grow as an educator without the pressure or consequences of a formal observation. Also, there are formal observations which are scheduled by the teacher and administrator. The Sabis Education Management company uses a standard evaluation tool that is the same across all of their U.S. schools.
Background information is collected, and the evaluation lasts the entire period. Lesson plans are turned in every week and Academic Quality Controllers (AQC’s) are typically the evaluators. AQC’s receive training in how to use the evaluation tool, and many of them were evaluated with it when they were teachers. I was told that it has changed very little over the last ten years.
Items are scored per an observation scale where a 0 represents “Not Applicable”, a 1 is “Unsatisfactory/Unacceptable”, a 2 is “Needs Improvement”, a 3 is “Meets Expectations and Requirements”, and a 4 is “Exceeds Expectations and Requirements”. The parts of the evaluation are: Physical Classroom Organization, Curriculum and Teaching, and Student Management. Each section is divided into numerous subsections with an Observable Scale and small space for comments.
The Physical Classroom Organization section looks at cleanliness, arrangement, tidiness, lighting, temperature, materials, student dress code, wall displays, and equipment condition. These factors have proven to affect student learning in drastic ways. They are also indicators to quality classroom management. These items can also be very subjective. I would like to see more objective measurements present in subcategories such as these. You can have different evaluators produce very different results when there are no measurable and observable guidelines to keep an evaluation consistent. I have had the opportunity firsthand of having different AQC’s give different scores for the exact same situation. Also, some of these subcategories make it hard to define exceeds expectations. For example, if you brought in a fan and space heater someone could say that exceeds expectations. But, you are not supposed to have space heaters in your room, so some peoples’ scores were lowered despite the fact that our building is very old and has heat consistency issues that have not been resolved so teachers are forced to find a way to make their classroom tolerable.
The Curriculum and Teaching section centers around the Sabis Points System of Instruction™. Points must be visible on the board, students record these points into their diaries, all schools follow a pacing chart, and you use the Sabis Point System of Instruction™ of Teach, Practice, and Check. After you check for understanding you modify accordingly. Sabis also uses a system of Prefects™, students that finish first and get their work checked by the teacher go to check other students work. Teachers are often videotaped on their delivery of this system and those tapes are shared with other teachers and the corporation.
The last section, Student Management, focuses on classroom emotional climate and following procedures such as; taking attendance, motivating students, displaying courtesy, maintaining control, and managing difficult/emotional situations. Once again these can be very subjective things that have a lot to do with each teacher’s pedagogy and personal learning style, but there is always room for additional evaluator’s comments.
I arrived at Tammy’s 5th grade class at 8:55. This is right before the start of 2nd period. I looked at her lesson plans and thanked her for the opportunity to observe her class. Tammy is my new mentor-teacher. All teachers work with a mentor-teacher for their first 3 years at the International Academy of Flint. This is a great program if you get a great mentor. One third of the staff have less than 3 years of experience so that takes a lot of mentors. Some may only have a few more years of experience or they may not be in your area of expertise. But, this is the best opportunity for growth if the alternative is no program at all. My previous mentor has switched to work with another 2nd grade teacher.
This is my first time observing Tammy teach. We have gotten to attend the Mentor/ Meetings every 2nd Wednesday of the month, but we discussed how this observation could be a great addition to the mentor system. If only we had enough substitutes or coverage for everyone to try this.
I took a few moments to take in the atmosphere before the next class arrived back from gym. I noted the cleanliness, but also took a moment to think about other teachers and the classrooms that they arrive in. In some cases, the students don’t switch classes. In most classes, the teachers are the ones that switch and could be walking into a mess. If an evaluator was not there before the class arrived, then the scores could be lower, because of the previous teacher’s lack of tidiness.
Tammy had a seating chart and the students’ desks were also labeled with their name tags. There was crafts hanging from the ceiling to mark the spots where the rows of desks lined up. I marked her items with the appropriate score as it related to how my supervisor had scored me. I did not receive the administrator training, but I did get to watch as my supervisor evaluated another colleague. Another good opportunity with this system is that your administrator has one week to go over your evaluation before they submit it in the system. So, I had numerous discussions with my AQC, Melissa Vincent, after each one of my evaluations. So with 5 evaluations and 1 observation under my belt, I proceeded to use the Sabis Educational Systems, Inc. Classroom Observation Form.
Tammy and I met during our prep period to discuss the evaluation. She noted that I was very generous in the number of 4’s “Exceeds Expectations and Requirements” that I scored her in. In hindsight, I should have evaluated someone that was not my mentor (someone I look up to), but I am glad that I did evaluate her. It was a great opportunity that the Mentor/Mentee program could use. Also, this was my first time evaluating another teacher using the Sabis Classroom Observation Form. Also, I reminded her that my evaluation did not figure into her pay raise, so I could afford to be more generous, if she thought that my evaluation was skewed. Sabis uses a performance based pay increase model. Each teachers’ yearly increase is calculated into a percent after looking at their student data, observation data, and their self-evaluation data.
I looked at all of the places where I had scored Tammy higher, than my evaluator had scored me and noticed a few things. First, the structure of our classes is different. Every student comes to my room, and I never know which computers are going to work that day, so I do not have a seating chart. I learn which computers are working after 1st hour and then seat students accordingly. This system works for me in my situation, but that means that my seating chart is always changing. I do get to greet each student as I pull their seat out for them to sit down. Tammy and I both allow our students to work collaboratively so our classrooms can sound noisy. I guess that I can appreciate that style of learning so I did not score her down, because it was like my classroom and no one was out of control. Also, my evaluation had a lot of 3’s circled pointing to 4’s with some advice on how to get to a 4. Maybe that is a better way to encourage continueing growth for all teachers. A 3 is still meeting the expectations, so in situations where you can’t really exceed the expectations maybe it is best to circle the 3 and recommend ways to get a 4 next time.
These kinds of insights come after numerous evaluations. I think that there is a system for motivating teachers and getting improvements. I belief in evaluations as a means for improvement not as a way to dismiss teachers. If you get a bad evaluation, that is an opportunity to get more help. I like checklists and action items in evaluations. These systems help you to stay consistent and keep evaluations more measurable and accurate. I also like the idea of videotaping your lesson so that you and the evaluator can go back through and pause and discuss the items being scored. I like the procedure of going over the evaluation within one week. This way the ideas are still fresh and the learning more accessible. Overall, this experience was informative and allowed me the opportunity to evaluate myself and the tool.o take in the atmosphere before the next class arrived back from gym. I noted the cleanliness, but also took a moment to think about other teachers and the classrooms that they arrive in. In some cases, the students don’t switch classes. In most classes, the teachers are the ones that switch and could be walking into a mess. If an evaluator was not there before the class arrived, then the scores could be lower, because of the previous teacher’s lack of tidiness.
I looked at all of the places where I had scored Tammy higher, than my evaluator had scored me and