Breaking the Stalemate

LA Teachers Take on Teacher Evaluation

June 2012

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Far too many teachers experience observations that are quick, directionless, sporadic and without meaningful follow-up. As a result, our schools miss opportunities to have real dialogue about professional performance and growth.

LAUSD teachers on teacher evaluation

LAUSD students on teacher evaluation

For the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), we propose a multi-measured system for observations for the first three years of a teacher’s career and every other year after that. We recommend rolling out the system over a pilot “year of information” to allow stakeholders to familiarize themselves during a “no-stakes” period.

We recommend that evaluations consist of these components:

  • Observations (50%): LAUSD should replace the current “barebones” teacher evaluation rubric with a rigorous, research-based rubric with clear and high expectations for teachers and meaningful feedback to identify areas for professional growth and support. These should include administrator and peer observations of teacher practice.

  • Student growth (40%): LAUSD should base nearly half of our evaluation system on how our children are growing in our classrooms. We want a balance of state standardized tests and locally designed district-approved assessments.

  • Contributions to the community and profession (10%): LAUSD should provide stakeholder input on our work, which encourages peer collaboration and fosters professional reflection and recognition. This measure should consist of both how students experience our classrooms and schools and how we provide meaningful peer feedback.

About the Teacher Action Team

We are a diverse team of 13 teachers who met for six weeks to review research on teacher evaluation systems across the nation, as well as local evaluation systems being proposed or piloted by UTLA, LAUSD and The College-Ready Promise consortium of charter schools. We held more than a dozen focus groups with roughly 150 teachers in our district schools and surveyed both members and non-members to understand the most essential components of teacher evaluation.

Deborah Albin Special Education Teacher in North Hollywood

April Bain High School Teacher in downtown Los Angeles

Michael Beiersdorf Middle School Health and Science Teacher in Huntington Park

Jennifer Bentley High School Science Teacher in the Elysian Valley

Kelsey Cushing High School Chemistry Teacher in downtown Los Angeles

Kate Dove Middle School English and Math Teacher in the San Fernando Valley

Ashley Englander High School Bilingual Teacher and Title I Coordinator in East Los Angeles

Mark Gozonsky High School English Teacher in Crenshaw

Darin Gray Adult Education Teacher in Echo Park

Ronald Taw Middle School Math Teacher in South Los Angeles

Allegra Williams High School Special Education Teacher in Hawthorne

Lindi Williams Middle School Math and Science Teacher in downtown Los Angeles

William Wong High School Geometry Teacher in the San Gabriel Valley