Dist. 211's new teacher evaluation system
Teachers and administrators at Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 beam with pride over the new teacher evaluation system that's being implemented at the district's five schools. It took three years of working together to revise the system hoping to improve the quality of educators in the state's largest high school district.
The old system was more of a checklist, teachers said. It didn't give teachers the proper feedback on ways they could improve. The new systems measures student classroom growth to show teachers ways they can grow and better their teaching skills.
They're proud of the system, the first of its kind in the area. District 211 officials said they are going to Springfield to show the Illinois State Board of Education their new plan, hoping other districts copy them. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
However, one board member wondered if the system would lead to merit-based pay for teachers. Pay is currently based on tenure and education level. Union and district officials said merit pay never came up when developing the plan. The focus of the program was to improve teacher performance. National teachers groups argue that competition between teachers from merit pay would not help students. Teachers should instead be encouraged to work together.
The District 211 community will have a better idea about effectiveness of the program after the school year, when reports are compiled and data crunched. Until then, hopefully students, teachers and staff can make the 2010 school year one to remember.