Principle 3: Effective Teachers and Leaders

South Dakota’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in June 2012. The waiver provides states with flexibility from certain provisions of No Child Left Behind. This allowed South Dakota to move forward in developing a new accountability system designed to provide a broader picture of school performance. This waiver has three critical components:

Principle 1: High Quality Academic Standards and Assessments
Principle 2: Statewide System of Accountability, Recognition and Support
Principle 3: Effective Teachers and Leaders

Principle 3: Effective Teachers and Leaders

To help develop the most effective teachers and leaders throughout the state, South Dakota DOE has been charged with developing high quality teacher and principal evaluation systems. These systems are based on common high standards of professional practice and on meaningful measures of student growth that include state assessments where applicable.

The Commission on Teaching and Learning

The Commission on Teaching and Learning (CTL), was formed in 2014 as a partnership of SDEA, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota (ASBSD), the School Administrators of South Dakota (SASD), and the South Dakota Department of Education (SDDOE). The Commission’s goal is to create a blueprint for quality instruction in South Dakota.

The Commission’s first task was to wrap up the work of developing model teacher and principal evaluation systems that districts may choose to use. The recommended teacher and principal effectiveness systems are being piloted across the state in the 2013-14 year, and the results of the pilots will be used to make tweaks to the system before it is implemented statewide.

High Quality Standards of Professional Practice

The heart of both the teacher and principal effectiveness systems is a set of high quality standards of professional practice. For teachers, this is the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching, which was adopted as the state framework in 2010. For principals, this is the South Dakota Framework for Effective Principals, created by a principal evaluation workgroup, vetted across the state, and adopted by the higher education EDAD redesign committee as guiding principles of their programs in 2012.

Student Growth as one Significant Measure

The model comprehensive teacher and principal effectiveness systems include meaningful measures of student growth for both principals and teachers. The state’s two effectiveness models recommend a common measure – SLOs – to evaluate educator impact on student growth. Implementing SLOs asks teachers and principals to assume shared responsibility and accountability for student learning. The recommended SLO process encourages and reinforces best practice, while remaining flexible enough to allow educators to take ownership in setting rigorous, yet realistic expectations for student growth goals.

Both the teacher and principal effectiveness systems result in professional practice and student growth ratings being rolled up into one final rating via the following matrix:

HIGH X X    
LOW     X X
Below Expectations Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations X – rating subject to review


Contact the Office of Assessment and Accountability Staff.