North Hills district considers new teacher evaluations, software

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North Hills school directors are considering new software systems.

Blackboard Connect is a message service that could notify parents about issues such as snow delays. It offers more capabilities than the district’s current system and is less expensive, said board member Joe Muha during last Thursday's work session.

Also being considered is an agreement with Atlas Curriculum Management, an online curriculum management system. The system will be phased in over three years.

Jeffrey Taylor, assistant superintendent of secondary education, gave a presentation on the new evaluation system mandated by State Act 82 of 2012.

“It is a new way of evaluating all educators,” he said.

Previously, teachers were evaluated only based on the principal’s observation of their classroom skills. Under the new system only half of the teacher’s “grade” will be from observation; 15 percent comes from their students’ scores on state-mandated tests; 15 percent from the entire school’s performance on the tests; and 20 percent on how the teachers met their own objectives.

Mr. Taylor said they will use the Danielson Framework for Teaching as a rubric. The framework has four domains — planning and preparation, the classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibilities. He said there are many subject areas under those domains.

Half of the principal’s evaluation will be based on observation, with the remainder consisting of building level test scores, the correlation between teachers’ scores and their ratings and the principal’s progress on meeting his or her own goals.

Even non-teaching personnel such as nurses and psychologists will be evaluated according to student test scores, with 20 percent of their evaluation based on how well the students do on the tests, Mr. Taylor said.

“You are still part of a school community,” he added.

The new evaluations take effect in the 2014-15 school year.

“This really has changed the landscape,” Mr. Wielgus said. “Everything was fairly subjective before.”

In other business, the board will vote next Thursday on tuition rates for online summer school and new systems to notify parents of district issues and for teachers to manage curriculum.

The summer school rates will remain the same as last year, said Ed Wielgus, board president.

The program will offer “recovery courses” for district classes that a student did not complete or pass, as well as dual enrollment college courses. 


Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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