In preparation for supporting provisionally certified teacher-candidates as they work toward State professional certification, local Professional Learning Community Support Systems (PLCSS) teams across Maine are gearing up to review their programs and deliver mentor training.
Simultaneously, in preparation for the supervision and evaluation of employees, school administrative units (SAUs) are working to develop and implement Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PE/PG) systems. Though a PLCSS is a function of State credentialing, and a PE/PG system is a function of local employment, the two systems are similar in some ways, and in recent weeks, the Maine DOE Educator Effectiveness Coordinator has received questions regarding the advisability of merging certain components of the systems.
Although it is true that some elements of these systems are similar, and that they share a common goal of ensuring that teachers in Maine schools are effective, to avoid conflicts of interest and cross purposes, SAUs must maintain important separations between the two systems.
In the section that follows, the Educator Effectiveness Coordinator answers the most frequently asked questions regarding the merging of PLCSS and PE/PG systems. The Department encourages superintendents to forward this information to their PE/PG system and PLCSS teams.
Professional Practice Standards
Question: We have heard that the certification standards will soon be changed to the InTASC Standards. Should our PLCSS team hold off on preparing mentor training materials?
Answer: No. The Maine DOE has identified the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards as appropriate in university teacher preparation programs, and the InTASC standards are the benchmark for selecting a Professional Practice model in a PE/PG system, but local PLCSS teams must base training materials and Teacher Action Plans on Maine’s 10 Teacher Certification Standards, which currently stand as the certification standards for professional certification. Any change to the certification standards, if and when it occurs, will require revisions of Maine law and State Board of Education rules.
Question: Our school administrative unit has chosen the Danielson/Marzano/National Board standards for our PE/PG system to evaluate the professional practice of our teachers. May our PLCSS team use those same standards when developing Teacher Action Plans for professional certification?
Answer: No. In working toward a professional certificate, a provisionally certified teacher must demonstrate to the local PLCSS that he or she has met Maine’s 10 Initial Teacher Certification Standards. When the same provisionally certified teacher enters the performance evaluation cycle, his or her professional practice must be evaluated according to the Maine DOE approved professional practice model chosen by the SAU for its PE/PG system.
Additional Guidance on Evaluating Beginning Teachers: In evaluating the professional practice of beginning teachers, the Maine DOE encourages evaluators to implement policies and practices that will support and accelerate the growth of these teachers. Because the standards in all of the approved professional practice models for a PE/PG system are aligned with the InTASC standards, using the InTASC standards as a resource in the evaluation of beginning teachers makes good sense. The 2013 InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards includes “progressions” for each standard that can serve to guide evaluators in determining the expected progress teachers should demonstrate with increasing years of experience, and the document provides suggestions as to the types of professional development that might facilitate that progress. In general, the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers can be a valuable resource to teachers, mentors and evaluators in both PLCSS and PE/PG systems.
At a Glance: Primary Purposes of the Standards
Maine’s 10 Initial Teacher Certification Standards: The basis for the development of beginning teachers and Professional Certification in Maine
PE/PG Professional Practice Model: The basis for the development and evaluation of the professional practice of teachers in a PE/PG system
InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers: Valuable resource for both PLCCS and PE/PG systems in monitoring and guiding development of teachers
Peer Review and Mentoring
Question: The Educator Effectiveness law requires a peer review component. May the PLCSS Mentor assigned to a provisionally certified teacher act as a peer reviewer in the evaluation process?
Answer: No. Provisional certification is a designation of state credentialing and is typically two years in duration, ending when a teacher is awarded a Professional Certificate by the State of Maine. Evaluation is a function of employment and has implications for continued employment in a local system. Neither the required components of the two systems nor the roles and responsibilities of the individuals involved should be merged. That said, nothing in the law prevents a provisionally certified teacher from seeking the support of a PLCSS mentor in an evaluation situation, but this relationship is to be solely at the teacher’s discretion, and under no circumstances should a PLCSS mentor enter into an evaluative role for a provisionally certified teacher.
For more information or technical assistance, contact Maine DOE Educator Effectiveness Coordinator Mary Paine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-624-6748.