Details for Education is on the line

EDUCATION TASK FORCE MAY CALL FOR EXPANSION OF CAREER LADDER Clark Corbin 08/13/2019 A subcommittee of Gov. Brad Little’s education task force began developing three potential recommendations Tuesday. At this point, none of the recommendations are final or have been brought to the full “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” task force. But with recommendations due to Little this fall, both the full task force and its subcommittees began kicking things into gear this week. And two of them will look familiar to anybody who followed former Gov. Butch Otter’s task force six years ago. On Monday, the full task force began developing the basic framework of a new accountability system that would focus on early childhood literacy and be bound by local control. The full task force is scheduled to meet again Sept. 13 in Pocatello. Members of the teacher pipeline subcommittee spent most of Tuesday’s meeting narrowing their focus and debating strategies. After the dust settled, three potential recommenda recommendations began to take shape. Those recommendations include: Providing mentoring and job-embedded professional development training that is aligned to student achievement. Expanding and building out the Legislature’s Legislature’ career ladder salary law law. Offering fering optional, extended contracts to educators who agree to work extra time to develop their craft or focus on student achievement. In 2013, Otter’ss Task ask Force for Improving Education issued 20 reform recommendations that included professional development, mentoring and the career ladder salary system. Mary Ann Ranells West Ada Superintendent Mary Ann Ranells said it’s it’ important to expand professional development because many school districts cut five to 10 professional development days during the Great Recession and have yet to add those days back. “In order to pull it off, off, you have to add days,” she said. “You ou have to add some amount of days, which will have a price tag.” Members of the teacher pipeline subcommittee say the Legislature didn’t didn’t fully build out the career ladder as it was proposed because they did not add a third salary rung that pays out $60,000. “My largest gest takeaway from the pipeline report was we are not adequately compensating our veteran educators, and they are leaving,” State Board of Education member Linda Clark said. Subcommittee members seemed to generally support expanding the career ladder to pay experienced teachers more, but they disagreed over the details. There was considerable debate over the role that teacher evaluations and performance metrics should or should not play in teacher pay. There was also debate over whether to retain the new master educator premium financial bonus system or scrap it and use that funding to build out the career ladder. Rep. Gary Marshall, R-Idaho Falls, proposed offering extended contracts (with higher pay) to educators, an idea that came to him at 2 a.m. His idea was to offer them a 20 percent increase over their base salary if they agree to work six weeks during the summer. That work would be unstructured, but teachers could use the time to map out literacy plans, collaborate with other teachers or enrich their own knowledge of the subjects they teach. “Most teachers want to see a sort of path to financial security in some way,” Marshall said. “Extended contacts will become a sure deal. It can be there every year, as long as you are willing to work you can rely on it.” Other subcommittee members abruptly pulled the plug on further discussion of Marshall’s idea after he causally proposed eliminating the career ladder and replacing it with his extended contracts idea. The career ladder has enjoyed wide support from school administrators, Little and both education task forces. Bill Gilbert “We’re not going to get rid of the career ladder, the governor is absolutely committed to the ladder,” task force co-chairman Bill Gilbert told Marshall. Former state Sen. Shawn Keough, who ran Tuesday’s subcommittee meeting, asked Marshall and others to spend the next month developing the extended contract proposal. Using a term popular with legislators, Keough suggested Marshal’s proposal may not be “ripe” yet. The final meeting of the teacher subcommittee is scheduled for Sept. 19. pipeline IDAHO EDUCATION TION NEWS, IDAHO STATESST MAN TO EDUCATION T PARTNER ARTNER TNER ON LATINO LA EDUCA PROJECT Idaho EdNews Stafff 08/12/2019 Idaho Education News and the Idaho Statesman are teaming up to explore why Latinos lag behind other students in Idaho — and where the state’s state’s education system is failing them. Nicole Foy About 18 percent of Idaho’s Idaho’s 307,000 schoolchildren identify as Hispanic or Latino, making them the largest minority group in Idaho schools. For the next school year, EdNews reporter Sami Edge and Statesman reporter Nicole Foy will dive into the data, listen to Latinos, educators and policymakers and write about what they learn. They’ll talk with leaders who create and implement education policy.. But they’ll also travel the state to learn from Latino communities. They’ll ask Latino parents and children what they think of Idaho’s Idaho’ public education system and how the system works — or doesn’tt work — for their families. Sami Edge. Consistent achievement gaps between white and Latino students in Idaho prompted this project. Here’ss what we know: 39 percent of Latino students in grades K-3 read below grade level in the fall of 2018, compared to 19 percent of white students. Only 24 percent of Latino students scored proficient in math on 2018 standardized tests. In comparison, nearly half of white students scored proficient or above at 49 percent. About 41 percent of Idaho’s adults held a college degree or professional certificate in 2016. But only 13 percent of Idaho Latinos held a degree or certificate, ranking dead last in the nation. This project is one of 10 across the country supported by an American Press Institute Listening Fellowship awarded to Idaho Education News. The reports will be informed by Latino communities across Idaho. 98 PERCENT OF PRINCIPALS EARN TOP MARKS ON EVALUATIONS Clark Corbin 08/08/2019 Nearly all of Idaho’s principals earned top scores on their evaluations from the 2018-19 school year, according to a new report that is nearly identical to teacher evaluation data. According to new data obtained from the State Department of Education, 933 of Idaho’s 951 principals earned one of the top two scores on their most recent evaluation. That calculates to 98.1 percent of all principals who were evaluated. On Sunday, Idaho Education News reported that 98.1 percent of teachers earned top marks on their evaluations from the same school year. Just like teachers, there are four overall scores a principal can earn on his or her annual evaluation — “distinguished,” “proficient,” “basic” and “unsatisfactory.” Overall scores for principals broke down as follows: Distinguished: 125 principals, or 13 percent. Proficient: 808 principals, or 85 percent. Basic: 17 principals, or 1.8 percent. Unsatisfactory: One principal, or 0.1 percent. Overall scores for teachers broke down as follow: Distinguished: 3,109 teachers, or 16 percent. Proficient: 15,466 teachers, or 82.1 percent. Basic: 325 teachers, or 1.7 percent. Unsatisfactory: 24 teachers, or 0.1 percent. By rule and state law, student achievement must be factored into evaluations for both principals and teachers. At a time when 98.1 percent of both principals and teachers earned scores of proficient or above, just 44.5 percent of Idaho students were proficient in math. And just 55 percent of students were proficient or above in English language arts, according to results from standardized tests. WHAT THE REPORT TELLS US, AND WHAT IT DOESN’T Much of the principal evaluation data released by the SDE was redacted and unavailable to the public because of state data privacy rules. The SDE released statewide totals for principals but redacted district-level data where there are five or fewer principals. Therefore, the public has no idea how principals performed in 133 school districts or charters. For example, the SDE reported that 98 of West est Ada’ss 99 principals earned overall scores of proficient, while one principal earned a score of basic. In Boise, all 75 principals earned overall scores of proficient. But the state redacted all data for most charters and schools districts. That means it’s anybody’s guess how principals in Fruitland, St. Maries, W Wilder, Notus, Parma, Mackay, Challis, Ririe and dozens of other districts and charters performed. However, because the SDE released statewide totals showing 98.1 percent of all principals scores proficient or above, it’ss a safe bet that principals in those districts or charters likely earned scores of proficient or above. HOW PRINCIPALS ALS ARE EVALUATED EV TED Idaho has administrative rules that govern both teacher evaluations and principal evaluations. The state also has an evaluation framework used to evaluate principals. There are three domains within the framework — school climate, collaborative leadership and instructional leadership. According to state rule, “All principals must receive an evaluation in which a majority of the summative evaluation results are based on professional practice.” and identify areas where they are excelling and areas where they need work. “I think that’s where that teachable moment, that coachable moment comes in,” Smith said. WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING Last year, the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington D.C., based research group, gave Idaho mixed reviews for its principal evaluations. The report focused on two areas — principal effectiveness and evaluations and observations, Idaho EdNews reported at the time. effectiveness: NCTQ reported Idaho as Principal effectiveness: “nearly meeting” the goals to help states meaningfully assess principal performance, joining eight other states. Evaluations and observations: Idaho met a “small NCTQ’ goals to help states “require annual part” of NCTQ’s evaluations with frequent observations of all 1 other states. principals,” along with 11 At the time, NCTQ managing director of state policy Elizabeth Ross told Idaho EdNews that every state ef should be laser focused on principal effectiveness. “Research increasingly demonstrates how important a strong school leader is, particularly in terms of student achievement,” she said. Click here and here for NCTQ’s findings and to compare how Idaho stacked up against other states in a nationwide review of principal evaluations. 98 PERCENT OF IDAHO TEACHERS EV EARN TOP OP MARKS ON EVALUATIONS Clark Corbin 08/04/2019 More than 98 percent of Idaho teachers earned one of the top two overall scores on their evaluations year. during the 2018-19 school year According to new data released by the State Idaho’ 18,834 Department of Education, 18,485 of Idaho’s teachers earned overall scores of “proficient” or “distinguished” on their annual evaluations. Nick SmithFurthermore, “All administrators must receive an evaluation in which part of the summative evaluation results are based in part on objective measure of growth in measurable student achievement…” Percent of teachers earning scores of proficient and above: 98.1 (2019), 96.4 (2018), 97.2 (2017), 96.3 (2016) 97.8 (2015) That’s the highest percentage of teachers earning top marks since Idaho Education News began tracking evaluation data in 2015. Idaho teachers can earn one of four evaluation scores: “distinguished,” “proficient,” “basic” or “unsatisfactory.” However, some districts — including Boise, the state’s second-largest district — don’t use the distinguished rating and only award three possible scores. In Boise, 99.4 percent of its 1,768 teachers earned scores of “proficient.” In Boise, the state’s second-largest district, area directors handle the evaluations for principals, while principals evaluate the assistant principals, Human Resources Director Nick Smith said. Teacher evaluations are important — and increasingly controversial — because the Legislature partially tied a teacher’s ability to earn more money to performance on evaluations. In additional to the evaluation framework, Boise area directors factor in student achievement — although more on a building-wide level than at the specific classroom level, Smith said. But evaluations are more than a means to earn higher pay. Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, the basis for Idaho teacher evaluations, was developed as a tool to help teachers grow and improve their craft; and to provide a universal tool to define good teaching. The professional practice portion of the evaluation must also include one of the following — parent or guardian input; teacher input; student input; and/or portfolios. For the professional practice portion of the evaluation, principals develop a portfolio that includes various pieces of evidence, such as parent surveys, student input, or the SMART goals a principal develops with his or her leadership team. There is also an opportunity for a principal’s staff to weigh in on an administrator’s performance. Principals can also choose to include professional learning community agendas, staff leadership team minutes, school newsletters and advancement via individual determination (AVID) strategies. By state law,, school administrators must factor student achievement into teacher evaluation scores. While 98.1 percent of Idaho teachers are proficient or above, just 44.4 percent of Idaho students were proficient in math. Only 55 percent of students were proficient or above in English language arts, according to SDE data. In Boise, principal evaluations are not tied to pay the way the Legislature partially tied teachers’ ability to earn a raise to performance on evaluations through the career ladder salary law. Although the highest percentage of teachers statewide earned top marks last year,, there are signs ferentiate between administrators are starting to differentiate their teachers. In 2014-15, for example, 35 districts or charters reported that every single teacher earned an identical overall evaluation score. For 2018-19, that number dropped to 19 districts or charters. Although the evaluations don’t factor directly into pay rates, Smith said the self-reflection and collaboration involved in the evaluation process is particularly helpful to principals. That gives principals a chance to reflect on their performance SNAPSHOTS HOW DISTRICTS APPROACH EVALUATIONS Lakeland Superintendent Becky Meyer said her district takes evaluations and oversight of its teaching staff extremely seriously.. During an education task force subcommittee meeting last month, Meyer criticized the Legislature, the media and Idaho Education News specifically for “misrepresenting” teacher evaluation data. Meyer said administrators work with teachers who aren’t yet proficient to develop a continuous improvement plan. And if they don’t improve, Meyer said the district doesn’t want them around. Becky Meyer “If we have a teacher that is basic, that means they are on a formal improvement plan, and they definitely get an opportunity to improve,” Meyer said. “If they don’t improve next year, then we take steps to not have them teach any longer because they can’t improve. We want them to be as great as possible for kids.” In Lakeland, the evaluations process plays out during the entire school year. At the beginning, each teacher completes a self-reflection where they evaluate where they think they are at within 22 components of the Danielson Framework. They identify areas of strength, and areas where they would like to grow. Then they develop SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) to reach those goals and work with administrators to get there. Administrators, such as a principal, visit each classroom weekly for an informal walkthrough, and then at least two more formal, documented observations are factored into each evaluation. Along the way, administrators record videos of educators teaching and provide mentoring and professional development, Meyer said. “The feedback we give them is continuous,” she said. In Lakeland, 98.6 percent (284 of 288) of teachers earned the same score of proficient (Lakeland doesn’t award scores of distinguished). The other four teachers were rated basic. Meanwhile, just 37.5 percent of Lakeland High’s students are proficient in math. Meyer said teachers set their own student achievement goals, which may be tied to growth, not overall proficiency. Several of Lakeland’s proficient teachers earned scores of basic on individual components of the evaluation, but still did well enough to earn overall scores of proficient. Meyer said teachers should be able to rack up enough high scores in certain areas of the evaluation, (professionalism, organizing their physical space and communicating with students and families) that even if they struggle with other aspects of the evaluation (designing instruction, using assessment in instruction or managing student behavior) they should have enough high scores to earn an overall proficient score. Meyer insisted that would still be the case even for a new teacher, who hasn’t had the benefit of a long mentorship and professional development, or a teacher who entered the classroom on an alternative certification and did not complete an educator preparation program at a college or university. “I’m not saying it’s easy, but you can learn that,” she said. In other districts, the changing education landscape introduces new dimensions to evaluations. Along the Utah border,, the once-tiny Oneida School District has grown enrollment and teachers by leaps and bounds by contracting with digital curriculum providers. Enrollment shot up by 37 percent in two years, Idaho EdNews previously reported. Many of those students take all of their courses online, and never set foot in a brick-and-mortar classroom. Now, about 70 of Oneida’ss 129 teachers teach only virtually — often using a web camera and computer from their home, Superintendent Rich Moore said. Because those teachers never enter a school, that erri Sorensen, principal of Oneida’s means Terri Oneida’ Idaho Home Learning Academy,, must log in virtually — just like her students — to handle the observations and walkthroughs that make up Oneida’s Oneida’ teacher evaluations. The overall process is similar to evaluating at a brick-and-mortar school, but they use an updated version of Danielson’ss Framework that is designed specifically for online learning