Nashua schools eye new way to rate teacher performance
Earlier this year, state legislators updated a 2011 law requiring school districts to have teacher evaluation systems, adding a clause that required teachers and principals to be involved in creating the policies.
New Hampshire recently received a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law. School districts that receive federal educational funding must put in place an evaluation system that uses student achievement as 20 percent of the overall assessment of each teacher. Although standardized test scores are the traditional way to gauge student performance, districts can choose their own measures. School districts have until 2015 to design new teacher assessments.
Nashua's current teacher contract, signed in 2011, outlines an evaluation system that involves a supervisor observing a teacher at work in a classroom. Supervisors incorporate their observations into a written evaluation that is shown to the teacher and kept on file.
However, Haas stressed that evaluations are meant to be starting points for improvement and professional growth rather than for punitive actions or preludes to layoffs.
Laura Hainey, president of the American Federation of Teachers' New Hampshire Chapter, which represents the Nashua Teachers Union, said that teachers recognize the benefits of evaluations.
Hainey said the problem has been that some evaluation approaches have been punitive or subjective. Limited observation times can fail to capture the strengths and talents of teachers, Hainey said.
Hainey said having teachers and administrators participate in setting the standards is a reasonable start.
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