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Fred Assam Elementary Principal Susan Foster and 2nd grade teacher Missy Livingston discuss student learning objectives and how teacher effectiveness will be rolled out districtwide in Brandon Valley next year.

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Teacher effectiveness pilot year wraps up at Bridgewater-Emery, Fred Assam


Jean Clark, family and consumer sciences teacher at Bridgewater-Emery

Bridgewater-Emery High School and Fred Assam Elementary are among the schools that participated in the pilot of South Dakota’s new teacher effectiveness model during the 2013-14 school year. Under the model system, teachers receive a professional practice rating and a student growth rating.

At Bridgewater-Emery High School, Principal Christena Schultz focused heavily on professional practice, which is based on the Charlotte Danielson Framework. The framework is made up of four domains. Each domain contains several components.

Schultz said teachers worked together at staff meetings and in-services to determine eight components in which they felt they, as a team, had the most room for improvement. As she observed teachers throughout the year and worked through the new evaluation model with them, she found that much discussion focused on those eight components: “Having similar conversations, discovering those common issues with a number of teachers, that’s leading us to seek out better-focused PD.”

For example, some of next year’s professional development will focus on the questioning and discussion component of the domain focused on instruction.

Schultz said completing teacher evaluations is more time-consuming under this model, but she thinks that will improve as she and her staff get more familiar with the process.

“I really think we’re headed in the right direction in terms of helping our teachers grow, helping our teachers become more effective,” said Schultz. “I tell teachers that this is about areas we all want to improve on, so that when we walk out of a classroom, we know we are offering and delivering the best every day.”

Click here for a video of Bridgewater-Emery High School teachers discussing the pilot year.


SLO posted at a teacher's desk at Fred Assam Elementary in the Brandon Valley School District

Looking ahead, South Dakota will not require that any teacher or principal effectiveness data be reported at the end of the 2014-15 school year. Some districts will be fully implementing the new teacher and principal effectiveness systems, while others will use it as a planning year to build capacity and train staff. Full implementation will be required of all districts in the 2015-16 school year. For districts that do not wish to use the state model for teacher or principal evaluation, a crosswalk is due to the Department of Education by Jan. 31, 2015.