School officials don't lack classroom experience

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In "Classroom Experiences Make for Better Decisions" (Nov. 25 letter), Russell A. Kuehner questions the classroom experience of the superintendent's administration.

Sixty percent of the members of Mark Roosevelt's and Linda Lane's executive cabinets were classroom teachers and school principals prior to their move to the central office. Currently, these members actually spend 80 percent of their time in schools working with principals and teachers in classroom settings. The other cabinet members have expertise in budget and finance, human resources, communications, assessment, legal affairs and technology -- areas that support the schools and classrooms.

Mr. Kuehner may be referring to the staff with the Empowering Effective Teachers Initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and charged with developing a teacher evaluation system that takes into account multiple measures -- classroom observation, student growth and student perceptions. Quite a few of these staff members have classroom experience and they also bring strong project management skills, all of which has provided the district with a solid foundation by which to define and effectively evaluate teaching.

It is important to note that none of this work has been done in isolation. Classroom teachers and principals have been active participants in the development of the evaluation plan and provide regular feedback that often results in changes to the plan. Both groups are working harder than ever before but most are experiencing more success than ever before because of the critical feedback that is being provided from a variety of data sources.

BARBARA RUDIAK
Assistant Superintendent
Pittsburgh Public Schools
Oakland


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