These are my notes from Michael Barlow, Dr. Cassandra Funderburk, Cindy Taylor, Talia Shaw and Linda Hendrick’s presentation, “Teacher Leader Effectiveness (TLE) and the Tulsa Model” at the Oklahoma Association of Elementary School Principals (OAESP) mid-winter conference on January 20, 2012, in Oklahoma City. The conference is sponsored and organized by the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA). MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. If you find typos or needed corrections, please share them as a comment or contact me via other means. This was the most enlightening presentation of this entire conference for me.

Learning about the Tulsa Model

There are 2 parts of the proposed state evaluation model for teachers: quantitative and qualitative

Quantitative: holding teachers accountable for student test scores
– our state (Oklahoma) “has punted” and said we need more research before we can implement this
– no state in the United States has figured this out yet (tying student test scores to teacher evaluation)
– Florida is furthest along, but they are still in a pilot stage
– the original proposal was to have 50% of teacher evaluation quantitative (student test scores) and 50% to be qualitative (principal evaluations)

The 50% that is the qualitative piece will actually be 100% this year in 2011-2012 in Oklahoma
– it is what you’ve been doing for 100 years, going into the classroom and seeing how teachers are teaching
– identifying strengths and rewarding those, identifying weaknesses and working to remedy those

Every school district in Oklahoma has to pick 1 of these 3 models:
1- Tulsa Public Schools Model
2- Danielson MOdel
3- Marzano Model

Tulsa model was developed from the ground up with funding from the Gates foundation
– Danielson and Marzano are national models, the Tulsa model is local

No model will be successful if administrators and teachers can’t implement it
– if the principal doesn’t have time to implement this, it won’t be successful
– you need to pick a model which is user-friendly for principals and teachers

Now we have 20 different criteria
– Marzano model has 60 criteria
– Danielson has 76 criteria
– Tulsa model has 20 criteria (it had 37 originally)

In pilot phase, principals and teachers reduced the number of criteria from 37 to 20

These 20 dimensions of the Tulsa model are:
– preparation
– routine
– discipline
– learning environment
– establishes objectives
– stresses sequence
– relates objectives
– involves all learners
– explains content
– models
– monitors
– adjusts to monitoring
– guides practice
– independent practice
– establishes closure
– lesson plans
– student files
– grading patterns
– student mastery

TLA (Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Commission) is composed of about 20 people, OEA, AFT, POE, Legislators, PTA, Administrators, School Board Members
– they evaluated systems for 6 months and came out with the recommendation that we have 3 possible systems
– they said the Tulsa system should be the default system, but schools should have options to adopt Danielson or Marzano

State Board took that recommendation and made Tulsa Public Schools Model as the “Presumptive Default”
– also picked McREL’s Principal Evaluation System and Reeve’s Leadership Performance Matrix
– your district will have to pick between these two systems on principal evaluation systems (we won’t focus on this today, however)

For 2012-2013: you will pilot one of the system and money will be available: $1.5 to be spent, 100% to be distributed on ADA basis to help with training ad implementation of selected models

There is no guarantee of future money after 2012-2013

Implementation Flow Chart
1- SDE provides information on TLA Framework (webinars will start in start of February, Oklahoma City area has 25 slots and they are already full)
2- Vendors provide information on systems
3- Districts choose systems (Supt Barresi said by late March at COSA conference last week)
4- Districts receive training on chosen systems
5- Districts implement chosen systems
6- TLA commission Commission and State Board continually receive updates
7- TLA commission and state board select Default Qualitative System and Quantitative Measures for 2013-2014

Principals will be required to attend multi-day training for whatever system the district selects

Now hearing from Tulsa PS

Our seed grant was funded by Gates Foundation and matched with local foundation dollars
– this was a massive effort, lots of time as well as funds required
– no evaluation system is practical if you can’t implement it

MY QUESTION: HOW DO THESE EVALUATION SYSTEMS INTEGRATE COMMON CORE EXPECTATIONS?

Ours is unique because it is Oklahoma grown, it has been validated, we base it on research and best practices (we are undergoing a validation study now)

Driving gains in student achievement
– teacher and leader effectiveness
– student achievement

TLA evaluation system based on observations, evaluations, feedback/support, and conferences
– this is rubric-based

Rubric provides a support document defining professional proficiency for 5 rankings
– a minimum of 2 observations are required, which each must be at least 20 minutes long
– small pieces of evidence gathered over time are the key

“The principal’s intentional study and analysis of the teacher’s classroom performance, guided by the detailed descriptions of the rubric and recorded in the observation form, which simplifies the rubric.”

Evaluation form is a technology-enhanced tool that documents/logs patterns of effectiveness via the rubric

Conferences follow each observation and evaluation, provide teachers with “status check” and “road map” to improve effectiveness

5 tiered approach to feedback and support
– focuses on 1 (“ineffective”) and 2 (“needs improvement”) performance levels and increases in ALL effective areas

Now hearing from Linda Hendrix
– been with Tulsa Public Schools for 13 years, never envisioned my role changing so dramatically because of accountability

Good relationship between district, teachers, and the teacher’s association is critical
– I’ve been on assessment committee for TPS since day 1 when Gates started with us

TLE System Structure: dimensions for teachers and principals (number of indicators follow, and weights)

Teachers: (20)
– classroom management – 6 – 30%
– instructional effectiveness – 10 – 50%
– professional growth and continuous improvement – 2 – 10%
– interpersonal skills – 1 – 5%
– leadership – 1 – 5%

Principals: (19)
– organization and school management – 6 – 35%
– instructional leadership – 2 – 13%
– professional growth and responsibility – 13%
– interpersonal skills – 4 – 13%
– leadership – 5 – 13%
– stakeholder perceptions – 1 – 13%

We recognized we needed weights, so we assigned the rubric calculation to put more focus (80%) on classroom management and instructional effectiveness

SM 2033 was crafted after we started the Gates process
– five tiers of effectiveness
– domains mirror SB 2033 requirements
– evaluation time frames
– supports for improvement
– applies to ALL teachers and leaders

Teacher rubric in detail: “Like a dictionary, the rubric’s descriptions provide definitional clarity as to each level of effectiveness”
– we wanted everyone to perceive the rubric in the same way
– fairness and equity in the process was a big focus for our working group

5 columns going across the rubric
1- ineffective
2- needs improvement
3- effective
4- highly effective
5- superior

Most of our administrators spend far more than 20 minutes in each teacher’s classroom
– rubric provides spaces for principals to put +, -, or another symbol in each category

One example: “the teacher might not have used their smartboard in the lesson, and they need to use technology, so you would mark that on the rubric”

MY COMMENT: THIS HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF FOCUSING ON EFFECTIVE LEARNING AND EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES, RATHER THAN JUST TECHNOLOGY USE (REF LARRY CUBAN)

Foundational idea: you don’t fire teachers and help them improve

5 tier approach to supporting teachers instructionally and improving leaders
1- “Push Pin” (less formal, yet documented) approaches to remedy ineffectiveness

2- Professional Development Plans (PDP)
in Tulsa PS we call this a “Personal Development Plan” to use more positive words/terms than “improvement plan”

3- Quality Experiences Supporting Teachers (QUEST)

We have Quest: intensive 24 day program, a Quest facilitator works with teachers 3 days per week, half day each time
– they model, help create lessons, lesson plan, and more

MY THOUGHT: THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT PROGRAM AND I’D LOVE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT IT

4- “9-week Cohort” focuses on application, reflection and critical thinking tools to support teachers to move to the next level of consistently impacting student learning”

5- “PDP Training Support Cycles” – 2 hour specific topic PD to address issues identified in PDPs, Oct through April

“our system is research based” and “we based this on reliable sources”

MY COMMENT: WHEN PEOPLE SAY THINGS LIKE THIS AND DON’T CITE AS WELL AS EXPLAIN THE ACTUAL RESEARCH BASIS, IT’S EQUIVALENT TO SOMEONE SAYING, “I HEARD THIS FROM JESUS.” THAT MAY BE TRUE, BUT IN THIS ACADEMIC SETTING WE NEED MORE ELABORATION THAN THAT: A FULL ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY PLEASE.

Now hearing from last speaker

MY SUGGESTION: IT WOULD BE GREAT TO HAVE THE NAMES OF EACH PRESENTER INCLUDED ON THE PRESENTATION SLIDES

The impact:
– student achievement gains
– “great improvements in identifying and distinguishing levels of professional performance”
– teacher evaluation: rankings guided and defined by 265 performance descriptions in 2010-2011 9versus 09-10: zero)
– more support for “less than effective” teachers
– “alignment of professional development plans and evaluation findings”

We are working to have teachers evaluated consistently via our rubric
– we have grown as evaluators through collaboration and comparing notes
– leverage teacher and administrator input
– improve system based on real-world implementation
– simplicity is best
– train evaluators, and train them again
– ensure inter-rater reliability
— certification and re-certification process

teamwork, fortitude, engaging outside community was important

our vision is one thing: student achievement

MY COMMENT: OUR VISION MUST BE FAR WIDER AND DEEPER THAN MERELY STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. BILL GATES AND NCLB-STYLE HIGH STAKES ACCOUNTABILITY LOVING POLITICIANS MAY WANT US TO SAY THINGS LIKE THIS, BUT WE SHOULD NOT. THERE ARE SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS WE DO AS TEACHERS AND IN OUR SCHOOLS THAT ARE NOT MEASURED ON STANDARDIZED ASSESSMENTS. STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR FOCUS IN OUR SCHOOLS, BUT IT SHOULD NOT AND MUST NOT BE OUR SINGULAR FOCUS. WE ARE FOCUSED ON STUDENTS, BUT WE ARE ALSO FOCUSED ON ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR DEVELOPMENT AS INDIVIDUALS AND CITIZENS: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, COLLABORATION, ETHICS, CITIZENSHIP, ETC.

From Michael Barlow:
– as this is rolled out statewide, it will be web-based so you can use an iPad or smartphone application
– Enid PS is doing this now

From : “I hate technology and will not use it, I will do this with my paper and pencil, and you can do this evaluation with paper too.”

MY COMMENT: WOW – THIS WAS QUITE AN ANTI-TECHNOLOGY STATEMENT. I WONDER IF SHE USES A CAN OPENER AT HOME?

From Michael Barlow: We are not going to use student test scores in this now, but it is coming
– merit pay is coming, but it’s not part of this bill now

MY QUESTION: SINCE STATE FUNDS AS WELL AS GRANT FUNDS ARE SUPPORTING THE CREATION OF THIS WEB-BASED TOOL, WILL IT BE MADE AVAILABLE FREE TO SCHOOLS AND EDUCATORS? IT SHOULD BE. THIS IS A MANDATORY EVALUATION SYSTEM FOR OUR SCHOOLS TO IMPLEMENT AND IT ABSOLUTELY SHOULD BE FREE ONLINE.
– I ASKED MICHAEL BARLOW ABOUT THIS AFTER THE SESSION AND HE CONFIRMED THE WEB-BASED ELEMENTS OF THIS EVALUATION SYSTEM WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FREE.

MY THOUGHTS: THE WORK TPS AND OTHERS HAVE DONE ON THIS QUALITATIVE EVALUATION IS EXCELLENT. THERE IS MUCH GOING ON HERE WHICH IS NOT GOOD, HOWEVER. WHERE IS THE CONSTITUENCY IN OKLAHOMA WHICH IS OPPOSING THE TIE OF STUDENT TEST SCORES TO TEACHER ASSESSMENT / EVALUATION AND MERIT PAY. PEOPLE LIKE MICHAEL BARLOW ARE SAYING ‘MERIT PAY IS COMING’ AS AN INEVITABILITY. WE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THIS AS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS. THERE IS NOT SOUND ACADEMIC RESEARCH TO SUPPORT THE VALUE OF THIS PATH, AND PEOPLE SEEM TO BE RUNNING LIKE LEMMINGS TOWARD THE CLIFF WITHOUT PROTEST. WHERE IS THE PROTEST? WHERE IS THE ORGANIZED OPPOSITION TO MERIT PAY TIED TO STUDENT TEST SCORES IN OKLAHOMA? THIS IS MADNESS AND WE MUST ACT TO STOP IT.

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