The teacher evaluation process was explained to the Culver School Board Tuesday. The evaluations help determine which teachers receive performance-based stipends and in the case of a reduction in force, which teachers are more likely to be cut.
Like many schools around the state, Culver’s method is based on the RISE evaluation, according to Middle/High School Principal Brett Berndt. “What we do as administrators for our teachers – we evaluate them two times a year,” Berndt says. “It’s one per semester. They’re long evaluations, which means they have to be at least 30 minutes where you’re in the classroom. So as an evaluator, you’re in there for 30 minutes looking through this modified RISE evaluation system, and what it is, is just a rubric that we go by with guidelines of how do we evaluate the teachers.”
He says this includes a few different components. One of them is teachers’ instructional abilities. “This is where we’re evaluating them on how do they instruct,” Berndt explains. “Are they getting the classroom objectives across to the students? Are the students engaged? What’s the depth of knowledge that they’re going through with the students? So everything based there is what the teacher’s doing in the class that day.”
The RISE rubric also includes a leadership component, which measures how the teacher contributes to the overall culture of the school. There’s also a core professionalism category, which evaluates things like whether teachers show up to work on time and their overall attitude in the workplace.
Then, teachers are separated into two groups. The first is those whose students take the ISTEP; the second, those whose students don’t. “For the group one teachers, how their evaluation comes out is 80 percent of their evaluation’s based on that RISE rubric,” Berndt says. “So really, what they do in the classroom controls 80 percent of their evaluation, which is a good thing. They can get to control that. Ten percent comes from their ISTEP scores. So how their kids did that year compared to the last year, that’s part of their evaluation. And then they go five percent on what their school grade was and five percent on what the corporation grade was.”
For teachers whose students don’t take the ISTEP, Berndt says the school grade and corporation grade are each worth 10 percent. “What we try to do as administrators – even though some teachers may say, ‘It’s not fair. Why does my evaluation have ISTEP scores and he does not?’ – we try to bring in the school grade,” he says. “Everybody should be involved with the ISTEP because we’re all being evaluated by our grade, which ISTEP scores obviously affect our school grade.”
Culver Schools Interim Superintendent Chuck Kitchell pointed out that while this year’s teacher evaluation process is already underway, last year’s evaluations still haven’t been finalized. That’s because ISTEP growth data, the school grade, and the corporation grade haven’t been released by the state yet. That also means teachers have not yet received their performance stipends.
While the formal teacher observations take place twice a year, Berndt says administrators also conduct additional short classroom observations.