Leander ISD looks into teacher, principal evaluations

Leander Independent School District is taking a new approach to evaluating the district’s teachers and principals each year to streamline improvement recommendations.

School board members reviewed two separate Learning, Evaluation, and Development System processes, one for teachers and one for principals during their meeting March 23.

LISD formed a steering committee in the fall of 2015 which was meant to make recommendations for a local appraisal system of the district’s teachers. The LEADS program is what resulted, including a rubric in which teachers will be evaluated and the cycle, which puts emphasis on growth.

A Leadership Development Committee was then formed in spring 2016 to create a shared vision of campus leadership and establish the principal evaluation tool.

Jennifer Andjelic, executive director of instruction and professional learning with the school district, said the process for both teachers and principals is a cycle.

“The cycle does start with self-assessment, which takes place prior to the summative conference, where the teacher will self-assess using the LEADS rubric in order to determine areas for growth,” she said.

There are 17 dimensions included in the evaluation within four domains—planning, instruction, learning environment, and professional practices and responsibilities.

“Each teacher will set two goals each school year, one being the personally related goal with the self-assessment on the rubric, and the other being the SLO which is set at the beginning of the school year and can easily align with the campus improvement plan,” Andjelic said.

Principals would follow a similar cycle, with their two goals being professional practice and student progress, said Sara Grissom, area superintendent.

Each teacher has an appraiser—principal, assistant principal or dean of instruction at the high school level—who would visit with the teachers throughout the year, ending a summative conference at the year to review results of the evaluation and discuss areas of potential growth and improvement.

Teachers will be given a rating at the end of the year during a summative conference, which ranges from "improvement needed" to "distinguished." There also is time during this conference to discuss attainment goals and professional learning for the next school year, Andjelic said.

School board president Will Streit asked how much written feedback would be given at the conference, in particular for teachers who had received a distinguished rating.

Matt Smith, LISD’s Chief Academic Officer, said it was unlikely to have teachers achieve distinguished status in all areas of the rubric.

“That has been one thing that the state has been very clear to tell us, he said. “The whole goal is to ensure that every teacher in your system has areas to grow or develop in.”

In addition, he said, “your best teachers are the worst critics of themselves.”

Smith said Thursday’s agenda item was only for presentation, and questions and will be placed on April's agenda for approval.


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