Effective teachers

More than 97 percent of Michigan’s 96,000 teachers were rated either effective or highly effective under a new evaluation system last year.
Krystle Wagner
Dec 4, 2012


The Michigan Department of Education recently released data for the first year schools were required by state law to evaluate teachers and label them as either ineffective, minimally effective, effective or highly effective.

The evaluations consist of professional growth plans teachers complete to identify strategies that would improve student achievement, classroom observations and professional practice, Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak explained.

“I think this process is very effective because it evaluates teachers from a positive orientation, encouraging their improvement,” he said.

During classroom visits, Szymoniak said principals look for a clear learning lesson, the amount students are engaged, and that they are using techniques such as teamwork and note taking.

For some schools, the required review changed evaluation categories from satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Although teacher evaluations aren’t new for the Spring Lake school district, Superintendent Dennis Furton said the new criteria is rigorous.

“The result is that we’re having more and better conversations with staff about incrementally improving their teaching practice,” he said.

Scott Grimes, assistant superintendent of human services for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, said the new system also required them to change their evaluation criteria.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Of course they were.

Good solid reporting, Tribune. Too bad it seems to have escaped your attention that 48 of the state’s 146 priority schools – so named because they are in the bottom 5 percent academically – rated all of their teachers in the top two categories. Several said all of their teachers are highly effective.

But to learn that interesting tidbit, which would provide some needed clarification of the facts in the story, one would have to read the Detroit Free Press.


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