Most NWI teachers rated well under new system
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com April 7, 2014 9:00PM
A host of Northwest Indiana school districts are closing the achievement gap between black and white students faster than the state's average.
Updated: May 9, 2014 6:32AM
Most Northwest Indiana teachers were rated as effective in performance evaluations from the 2012-13 school year, but a large number of school districts weren’t required to release their evaluation data because their current teacher contracts were negotiated prior to the rating system becoming law.
This is the first year that teacher effectiveness data has been released, but it was delayed by issues during the Spring 2013 ISTEP+ testing window. Charter schools will start releasing their data next year, while private schools are still exempt.
Among the 14 Northwest Indiana districts or schools reporting, 21 percent of teachers were rated as highly effective, 56 percent as effective, 2.6 percent as improvement necessary, 0.7 percent as ineffective and 20.2 percent as either not applicable or not evaluated.
Statewide, 26.45 percent of teachers were rated as highly effective, 61.15 percent as effective, 2.03 percent as improvement necessary, 0.39 percent as ineffective and 10 percent as not applicable or not evaluated.
School corporations submitted educators’ performance results through a zero through 4 rating system — zero being not applicable/not evaluated to 4 being highly effective. A zero rating could signify that a teacher resigned, retired, was on maternity or sick leave or died, Indiana Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman said.
Altman said about 60 school districts and schools statewide — 10 in Northwest Indiana — are still under teacher pacts settled prior to the evaluation system becoming law on July 1, 2011, so they could check the “no records” box and sign off on the form.
Local districts that fell into that category include Tri-Creek School Corp., Lake Station Community Schools, Gary Community School Corp., School City of Hobart, School Town of Munster, MSD Boone Township (Hebron), Duneland School Corp., Porter Township School Corp., Portage Township Schools and Valparaiso Community Schools.
Crown Point had the highest number and rate of highly effective teachers — 362 teachers or 82 percent. Roosevelt High School in Gary, which is run by Edison Learning, had the highest number of teachers rated as ineffective at 7.
East Porter County School Corp. had 66 percent of its teachers rated as highly effective. Supt. Rod Gardin said the district decided to use the state’s RISE model, which meant a pretty big change from the previous system.
Administrators evaluate a teacher’s classroom during at least three 15-minute sessions and two 40-minute sessions during the school year, Gardin said. Teachers receive feedback after each session and at the end of the school year, he said.
“We spent a year studying the RISE model and training with teachers, telling them what it’s going to be like,” Gardin said. “Even so, it’s a brand new system, and it caused stress for teachers. They were more anxious about their performance, particularly when you tie it to compensation.”
Teachers in the top two categories receive financial incentives. But if a teacher is placed in the improvement necessary or ineffective categories, schools must develop a remediation program with the teacher and the teacher is re-evaluated after 90 days. If no improvement is made, a district can cancel its contract with the teacher.