Principals in Elgin Area School District U-46, and across the state,
will find themselves under the microscope this school year with the implementation of a statewide evaluation system that grades principals based on professional practice and multiple measures of student growth.
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The Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010. But the performance evaluation system went into effect Septe. 1, 2012. Under the act, principals are measured using the categories of excellent, proficient, needs improvement or unsatisfactory.
District leaders said the system will strengthen the link between the district's vision, mission, values, beliefs, Destination 2015, the district improvement plan and leadership at the schools.
"Whenever there is clarity of shared expectations, there is more alignment," said Ushma Shah, assistant superintendent of elementary education for instruction and equity. "And when there's more alignment, that leads to better results for students. That is the positive opportunity presented with this new legislation."
Shah said the breakdown for evaluation is up to each district. In U-46, 75 percent of the principal evaluation will be based on performance, which includes self-assessment, evidence from observations and meeting professional growth goals. The remaining 25 percent of the performance rating is determined by student growth.
Lisa Jensen, director of human resources, said principal pay will be tied to evaluation results but the district has not yet determined final details.
In addition, Jensen said, principal evaluations are protected under the Freedom of Information Act and will not be available to the public.