BOE Endorses New Teacher, Principal Evaluation Plan

'This is a real sea change' for principals, said Board of Education member Norman Rosenblum.


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.

Hillside Mom January 29, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Patch - Has there been an update from the Superintendent re: the 6 Month Plan we heard so much about this past fall?
ira shor January 30, 2013 at 03:21 PM
PATCH completely ignored the large number of MTC teachers, teachers' aides, and counselors who attended the Jan 28 BOE mtg where MEA Pres Gayle Shephard spoke eloquently. Teachers, aides, counselors were there to politely urge the BOE to close on a contract with MEA which compensates them fairly and which restores teacher aide health insurance. Why does patch bury this newsworthy item from its readers?? Is this an anti-union bias in PATCH? The room full of blue-shirted teachers, aides, and counselors made a stunning impression which BOE Pres. Robin Kulwin graciously acknowledged. Why not PATCH also? A news organization is supposed to cover the news, not hide what it doesn't like. MTC taxpayers, parents, and residents need to know what is happening in their town even if PATCH is not willing to tell us.
I'd-Rather-Be-at-63 January 30, 2013 at 05:35 PM
The Marshall Plan for Education was only recently introduced in New York State by Kim Marshall, beginning at one NYC elementary school in 1987. The jury is still out on just what precise effect this may or may not have had on improving New York education. What the Montclair resident wants to know is just what existing evaluation system this is replacing, how has it already been piloted in Montclair schools, and what the costs are to Montclair tax payers. Having a touchy-feely system of unsatisfactory, basic, proficient, and distinguished based on a vague listing of elements should be first assessed before being introduced. And, again, the cost of any program introduced by the BOE should be clearly and precisely budgeted before approval. Idem on ira shor's note on teachers, aides and counselors: Ignoring the people in the education system in order to highlight vague programs does not sit well with parents and taxpayers.
Montclair Public January 31, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Patch is not the only guilty party here and, actually, the Montclair Times is worse. On cue, just as negotiations between the board (and its' out-sourced lawyer, costing taxpayers a pretty penny) and the MEA are said to be reaching an important (if not critical) phase, here is George Wirt weighing in with a scare-tactic plant of a story about how state revenues "could be" shrinking. Robin Kulwin confirms negotiations are occurring in the piece (they have been ongoing for months, George), the new superintendent is given an expansive forum to preach about restraint while Gayle Sheppard, the MEA president, is nowhere to be heard. Thanks for the even-handed, comprehensive reporting, George. And how about asking one of the board members just how much we have paid the negotiating attorney to produce, so far, nothing?
esther February 01, 2013 at 09:39 PM
That's right Ira- so PATCH- you've been asked in a public forum- why no response? Are you saying noboy covers BOE meetings? Hello......anyone out there?
esther February 01, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Isn't the fee paid to this attorney supposed to be public record? The Montclair Times has alway historically highlighted the negative and if it couldn't ignoring the positive completely when discussing the schools. Shame on them.


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