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updated: 9/14/2012 12:06 AM

Student growth a factor in District 211 principal evaluations

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Under a new evaluation system implemented this school year, 30 percent of the overall rating for principals, assistant principals and a few other administrators in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 will be based on student academic growth.

The change is a result of the Performance Evaluation Reform Act, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed in 2010. The act requires all schools in Illinois to include measurements of student growth in newly designed performance evaluation systems for teachers and principals.

The performance act mandates that student academic growth measurements account for at least 25 percent of principals' overall evaluations, meaning District 211 went 5 percent beyond what was required.

District 211's principal evaluation plan -- which was put in place on Sept. 1 -- adopts the same six standards as the Illinois Standard for Principal Evaluation. For each standard, principals can fall into the categories of excellent, proficient, needs improvement or unsatisfactory.

However, the district also added its own seventh standard called "data-driven decision-making."

Eric Wenckowski, director of human resources, said districts were allowed to adopt all or part of the state model. District 211 decided to add the extra standard, he said, because many decisions made in the district "rely on the analysis and synthesis of data."

"We felt that was a very important part of what an administrator does, so we created its own category," he said.

The remaining portions of the administrative performance evaluations in District 211 are split into two categories. Principal practice will account for 50 percent of the overall rating, while 20 percent will be based on achieving professional growth goals.

"I think our committee's done a great job," Superintendent Nancy Robb said of the group that developed the new evaluation system. "They did take a lot of the information from the state, but we have customized it, we have made changes."

Evaluations must be completed by March 1.

The performance act requires student academic growth to be included in teacher evaluations too, but that won't begin until the 2015-16 school year for District 211 teachers.

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