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News and Speeches

NYC Department of Education Launches Summer Trainings For The New "Advance" Teacher Evaluation and Development System


More Than 100,000 Cumulative Hours of Professional Development Will Prepare Administrators and Teachers for Effective, Collaborative Observations in the 2013-2014 School Year 

The New York City Department of Education today launched the first session of a comprehensive series of summer trainings for school principals and faculty on the City’s new teacher evaluation and development system, called “Advance.” At the first training session of the summer in Brooklyn Heights, which hosted teams of administrators and teachers from 32 schools, Department of Education Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott described how the new system will deliver more support for teachers, better instruction for students, and improved outcomes for City schools. This year, school leaders will provide teachers with annual performance ratings on a four-tiered scale using evidence-based observations, developmental feedback, targeted professional development, and student growth on assessments. Advance, which will be implemented for the first time in the 2013-2014 school year, replaces a system that rated teachers only as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory,” a model that had been in place for almost eight decades.

“If you turned back the clock 80 years, our City’s teachers were simply labeled ‘Satisfactory’ or ‘Unsatisfactory’ – and that simplistic system didn’t support professional growth or increased student achievement. Our new system exemplifies our commitment to advancing our students, advancing our teachers, and advancing our schools. Over the past decade, we’ve delivered historic outcomes, and these trainings represent our commitment to build on that work in the years to come,” said Chancellor Walcott. “Our teachers are on the front lines each day preparing our students for college and careers, and we’re working to give them the feedback they deserve to help them improve their craft. Our goal is an effective teacher in every classroom for every student, and Advance, combined with our work around the Common Core, will help us get there.”

Unlike the previous evaluation system, Advance looks at how students do, as well as what teachers do in the classroom. The system is designed to be fair and accurate, combining classroom observations with multiple measures of student learning. Forty percent of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on student outcomes on state and local assessments. Of that, student growth on state assessments or comparable measures will comprise 20 percent, while the other 20 percent will focus on student growth on local measures selected by the school. A school committee will recommend those local measures to the principal. Multiple measures of student learning provide a more valid, robust picture of teacher performance, providing educators with multiple sources of feedback. The remaining 60 percent of a teacher’s overall rating will be based on measures of teaching practice, which include observations as well as results from students on the Tripod Survey, a research-based, classroom-level student survey. The Tripod Student Survey will be piloted in 2013-2014 with no stakes. In 2014-2015, student surveys will be worth five percent of a teacher’s overall rating.

The DOE is making an unprecedented amount of professional development available to support the introduction and implementation of Advance to help prepare schools for the fall. By the start of the upcoming school year, the DOE is expecting to have hosted 129 trainings for 12,900 participants, totaling over 761 hours. For all of the participants, across all the sessions, those trainings will deliver a cumulative total of over 100,000 hours of professional development. Over the course of the trainings, staff will learn the ins and outs of Advance, including equipping them to describe effective instructional practices using the Danielson Framework for Teaching, implement the observation and feedback cycle, understand and choose their measures of student learning, and produce ratings based in evidence.

The launch of Advance is the culmination of three years of preparation by the DOE for its new evaluation and development system. In 2010-2011, the City introduced a teacher effectiveness pilot program that used the Danielson Framework for Teaching for observation and feedback in 20 schools with over 700 teachers. The pilot expanded in 2011-2012 to 106 schools and over 4,000 educators, and in the 2012-2013 school year, it grew to approximately 200 schools, engaging over 6,500 teachers in the research and development process that led to the new system. The components of Advance reflect most of what the City proposed – and the State Education Department ultimately approved – for a new teacher evaluation system as required by State Education Law 3012c.

This spring, principals received seven hours of job-embedded support at their schools from talent coaches, who worked with and trained school leaders on effective observation practices. In June, teachers began receiving intensive training led by The Danielson Group, who developed the Framework for Teaching that will be used to gauge effective classroom instruction through observations.  The DOE also began offering information sessions open to all staff, which were led by school superintendents with expert talent coaches. The teams attending the summer trainings will be critical leaders at their schools and will help principals train the remaining staff along with additional professional development at the beginning of the school year. Schools will set aside at least three hours a month throughout the school year for additional training and other work connected to implementing the new Advance system.

Building on this extensive preparation, the DOE will continue to support schools with their implementation in the year ahead. Comprehensively trained talent coaches and measures of student learning specialists will be deployed throughout the City to work with schools on effective implementation of Advance. Together, they will provide ongoing support for using the Danielson  Framework and the various measures of student learning, and working together with Networks, they will help schools to make connections between Advance and the work already underway with the Common Core. The DOE will also provide an evaluation support helpdesk, webinars to cover essential information, and online training resources and modules aligned to Advance’s elements. A detailed webinar and Measures of Student Learning Guides are already available online. In August, the DOE will release an interactive selection tool to help schools identify assessments and measures appropriate to their students. These extensive preparations and supports will ensure that Advance fulfills its potential as a powerful tool for improving teaching and learning across our City.