Student achievement and more rigorous standards will be used next year to evaluate teachers and principals in Montclair.
The Board of Education approved the recommendation of a district committee on Monday to use a new method for analyzing the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom and principals, called Marshall Plan.
The Marshall Plan “gives us a very authentic view of teaching and learning and will provide us with the ability to improve our practices and then ultimately impact student achievement,” said Gail Clark, principal of Nishuane Elementary School and co-chair of the District Evaluation Advisory Committee which recommended the plan.
“This is a real sea change” for principals, said board member Norman Rosenblum. “They are going to be the educational leaders of the teachers.”
The DEAC, comprised of principals, teachers, a parent and a Montclair Board of Education, was formed soon after the state passed legislation in August 2012 mandating districts to update how they evaluate educators. The legislation allowed district to choose their own models.
Clark said the committee, made up of 21 members, reviewed multiple models before a consensus was found on the Marshall Plan. Other models, Clark said, were labor intensive, bogged down with paperwork and lengthy conferences, and seemed to hinder growth.
The Marshall Plan was ultimately chosen by the committee, said Clark, because:
- It is researched based.
- It is line with the district’s Core Standards.
- Principals get into the classrooms frequently.
- It provides timely face-to-face feed back.
In addition, the Marshall Plan calls for what Clark called multiple “snapshots” for evaluating classroom instruction. Administrators see 10 to 15 minutes of an educator’s teaching methods multiple times a year and then meet with him or her in a “very timely fashion."
“It really spoke to good teaching practices and good collegial feedback," said Clark. [The Marshall Plan] did not have an evaluative tone to it; it had a growth tone to it.”
The other members on the committee also spoke highly of the new evaluation plan.
Katherine Martinez, district assistant superintendent for instruction, said the central office was on board with the Marshall Plan due to the frequency administrators will be in the classroom.
“You are in the classroom ... constantly,” said Martinez. “And the observations are very very specific to practices, with feedback being provided immediately which then allows teachers to go back and put them in play in the classroom.”
Helen Fallon, a parent on the committee, said, “I’m not an educator myself, but common sense tells me that the Marshall Plan approach will help my child’s teacher and all of our children’s teachers be even better teachers.”
Superintendent Penny MacCormack she has been in talks with superintendents in the surrounding area, and the Marshall Plan has been endorsed by “quite a number [of districts] right near us,” although she did not give any more details.
The Marshall Plan will run as a pilot program in the coming months, and will be fully implemented at the start of the 2013-14 school year.