Teachers' Top Three from ESE - January 28, 2016
Get Involved: Submit your Teacher Leadership Idea to Attend the Teach to Lead Summit in New Orleans
The U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), is hosting the seventh summit on teacher leadership in New Orleans on April 9-10, 2016. Teachers interested in attending should submit their ideas for expanding teacher leadership opportunities at the school, district, state, or national level. Check out ideas online that were selected for the Boston summit in February 2015.
Members of ESE's Teacher Advisory Cabinet and ESE staff attending the Teach to Lead Summit in Boston in February 2015.
Teachers are encouraged to apply in teams. Lodging and most meals will be paid for attendees, but individuals are responsible for their travel expenses. If selected, check with your school or district about available professional development funds that might help with travel costs. All districts receive federal grant money to support professional development through Title II-A.
Learn more about Teach to Lead, past and upcoming summits, and submit your ideas for New Orleans by February 8, 2016.
Did you know?: Third Year of Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Data Released
On Tuesday, ESE released 2014-15 educator evaluation data. With the staggered rollout of the state's educator evaluation requirements, some districts are in their second or third year of implementation with part of their staff, but 2014-15 marked the first year all educators in all districts were expected to participate.
Statewide, early findings suggest that districts are using the framework to identify high-performing educators, who they then retain at promising levels, while shortening timelines for struggling educators to improve. Over 88 percent of teachers who earned Exemplary or Proficient ratings during the 2012-13 school year were still working in Massachusetts schools two years later. The data also reflects improvement among lower-performing educators: Over 80 percent of teachers rated Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory in 2012-13 who were rated in 2014-15 improved their performance ratings to Proficient or Exemplary. Taken together, these findings indicate that Massachusetts' educator workforce continues to get stronger.
As a reminder, evaluation data is only released in the aggregate, and data suppression rules are in place to ensure individuals' results are protected and confidential. You can read more about these protections and the types of educator evaluation ESE collects in our June 18 issue.
Teacher Reflection: How Reviewing an Educator Preparation Program Helped Me Review My Own Practice
Jason Isaacs, a high school math teacher in Needham, reflects on his experience reviewing a Massachusetts educator preparation program alongside other reviewers and ESE staff.
I recently had the opportunity to work alongside DESE staff as part of their Educator Preparation Review team. Led by members of DESE, I, along with two K12 administrators and one college administrator, worked together to evaluate preparation programs. This experience was unlike anything else in education that I had completed. Throughout the process, there were various tasks to complete, and it was extremely beneficial that each member of the team was assigned just one task. We spent time on our own analyzing submitted evidence before our visit, and during the visit, we spent three days gathering additional evidence by leading focus groups and interviews in order to best support our final analysis of the preparation programs.
One would expect a math teacher to enjoy collecting and analyzing data, but my takeaway extends beyond the focus groups and data collection: I rediscovered the value of focusing on a single task to reach a goal. I did not have to worry about the numerous tasks that stretch teachers in every direction. Daily lesson planning and reflection, grading, and emails all took a back seat while I was able to focus on one sole task: identifying what a successful preparation program should be, specifically with respect to the field-based experience domain of the review process. My experience impacted my professional practice by helping me plan for one specific skill I want each of my classes to learn. While continuing to implement backward design, I have additionally adopted the mindset of focused planning for one calculus class at a time rather than trying to piece together a unit on the derivative techniques for all three sections at once.
The opportunity to be a reviewer gave me a unique look into some of DESE's work, not to mention a look back at the steps I needed to take to complete my own preparation program. This experience, although challenging to be out of school, was extremely worthwhile, and I would recommend it to those interested. For me, it was important to see that the work we were accomplishing positively affected our future colleagues. I am sure the next time I participate, there will be new challenges to overcome and new takeaways for me to bring back to my own classroom, department, and school community.
Interested in becoming an ed prep reviewer? The Department is accepting applications until February 24, 2016. The application and more information about the review process are available online.
Help us reach more teachers — Share this email with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up! To subscribe, please complete this short form: http://DESE.Top3fromESE.sgizmo.com/s3/. We also invite you to connect with other teachers across the state and ESE staff on Twitter. Find us at @MASchoolsK12 and use #Top3fromESE to discuss items from this newsletter or suggest new topics.
If you have suggestions for content, questions, or comments, you can reach a member of our staff at Top3fromESE@doe.mass.edu.