Department of Education Announces $2.4 Million for Second Year of Teacher Evaluation Pilot Program in Preparation for Statewide Rollout in 2013-14
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Justin Barra
|Date: March 28 2012||609-292-1126|
Trenton, NJ – In order to continue to prepare for full statewide rollout of a new teacher evaluation system in 2013-14, the Department of Education today announced an additional $2,400,000 to fund up to 20 new districts and to continue to support 10 existing districts in the development of a new teacher evaluation system as part of the Effective Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) pilot program. In addition, all districts across the state will be required to complete a number of steps to prepare for statewide rollout in 2013-14. Through both internal and external review of these ongoing pilots, the Department is continuing to build on the successes happening across the state and addressing the challenges in implementing a new evaluation system.
“Because we know that the teacher in front of the classroom is the most important in-school factor affecting student achievement, we are working hard to develop a new teacher evaluation system that will provide meaningful feedback and actionable data to help all of our teachers, regardless of experience, continuously improve their practice,” said Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf. “We owe it to our educators to get this right, and we are confident that after monitoring progress in our pilot districts over multiple years, we will have a statewide system in 2013-14 that provides more meaningful support to every New Jersey teacher.”
As part of the second year of the pilot, the Department will hold a competitive process to select up to 20 new school districts that will receive a financial award and help to shape the new evaluation system. The application and selection process will be similar to the one conducted last year. District applications will be due on April 26, 2012, and selected districts will be notified in June. In addition, the 10 districts currently participating in the pilot will be eligible for smaller awards to continue their program into a second year.
Currently, 10 pilot districts, 19 School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools, and Newark are implementing the new evaluation system as part of the state’s first-year pilot. The pilot was designed to allow flexibility for districts to experiment with a more meaningful and rigorous evaluation system, guided by the following principles:
Based on initial feedback from current pilot districts and emerging national research, the Department has outlined several changes to next year’s pilot program in order to continue learning from the field. Among others, these changes include:
“Over the past year, we have heard from educators and administrators in our pilot that nearly without exception they are having more meaningful and constructive conversation about their practice than ever before. With big steps already taken to tie this feedback to professional development, we are seeing evidence that the conditions are in place to support all teachers in the process of continuous improvement,” said Acting Commissioner Cerf. “The purpose of the first-year pilot was not to get everything exactly right on the first try, but to identify successes and challenges. By working closely with each of these pilot districts, we are in a strong position to do exactly that.”
Initial feedback from the current pilot districts has demonstrated significant momentum going into the second year of the pilot. Several lessons learned so far include:
The Department of Education is currently working with pilot districts and with the state-level Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee (EPAC) to address these lessons learned and provide related guidance and support to the field in the future.
To ensure that the Department learns as much as possible during the pilot, the Department announced last month that it has partnered with Rutgers University to conduct an external evaluation of the pilot. A final report will be produced by the end of the year, and interim reports will be developed on a regular basis. Details can be found at http://www.nj.gov/education/news/2012/0228ee4nj.htm. The second year of the pilot will also include an external evaluation, with details forthcoming.
In addition to the pilot, every district in the state will need to complete a series of steps defined by the Department of Education next year to prepare for statewide rollout in 2013-14. Among others, this includes the selection and field testing of a teaching practice evaluation instrument, the training of teachers and evaluators on that instrument, and the development of a local district stakeholder advisory group. The Department has identified both state and federal funding that can be used to support this work.
A copy of the Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO) can be found at:
Details on the current pilot program can be found at http://nj.gov/education/EE4NJ/.
A list of current pilot districts can be found at http://nj.gov/education/EE4NJ/faq/.