Following several changes by the Maine Legislature, I am pleased to say that the Department has finally adopted Rule Chapter 180, which establishes standards and procedures for the implementation of performance evaluation and professional growth systems (known as PE/PG systems) that each school administrative unit (SAU) is required to have implemented by the 2015-16 school year. PE/PG systems for teachers and principals improve educator effectiveness by establishing clear expectations for professional practice and student learning/growth and providing actionable feedback and support to help educators meet them.
The Department outlined the changes it made through the public rulemaking process last fall in a previous Commissioner’s Update dispatch. It is important to note that during the Legislature’s review this spring of Maine DOE’s provisionally-adopted rule, there was agreement that student growth measures should be a significant factor in determining a teacher or principal effectiveness rating and that local school boards have the authority and responsibility to approve or reject the stakeholder group’s proposed PE/PG system plan. Additionally, the Legislature maintained that the Maine DOE will still have to approve PE/PG system plans and that there are contingencies if local stakeholder groups can’t reach consensus, including adoption of a State model.
That said, through a legislative resolve, the Department was required to make several key changes that we have since incorporated into the adopted rule, including:
Stakeholder Group to Develop PE/PG System Using Consensus Process
1. SAUs will be required to form a stakeholder group to develop their PE/PG systems.
2. The majority of the stakeholder group will be teachers – one-third endorsed by a majority of the SAU’s teachers; one-third endorsed by the school board; and one-third endorsed by both the school board and a majority of the SAU’s teachers. The other members of the stakeholder group will be principals, administrators, parents, members of the public and school board members. (Note: If the SAU already has a group developing its PE/PG system, it can continue with that group if a majority of teachers in the SAU vote to allow that group to continue rather than being reformulated.)
3. The stakeholder group has to develop the PE/PG system using a “consensus decision-making process.”
School Board Authority
4. The school board still has the authority and responsibility to adopt or reject the PE/PG system developed by the stakeholder group.
Fallback Plans if Consensus Isn’t Reached by June 1, 2015
5. There is a June 1, 2015 deadline for the stakeholder group to reach consensus, or the rule provides fallback plans. If the group fails to reach consensus on just the weight of student growth measures, then the weight must be 20 percent (or its equivalent on a matrix) and the rest of their consensus goes forward as the plan. If the stakeholder group fails to reach consensus on other issues, the SAU must adopt a State Model PE/PG system, which will be developed by the Maine DOE by this July.
6. While SAUs are still required to pilot their systems during the 2014-15 school year, they are not required to include all of their student growth measures in the pilot, though they are encouraged to do so.
Different Standards for Assessments
7. The adopted rule replace the terms “valid and reliable” in reference to assessments and instead provides more detailed criteria in keeping with work already going on in the field.
I am proud of the Department’s work over the past two years to move this rule to final adoption while at the same time, providing districts technical assistance through our Educator Effectiveness Coordinator Mary Paine. While I don’t agree with all of the changes the Legislature required us to make, I am glad the rule is finally in place so districts have the direction they need to ensure all of our students have the great teachers and leaders they deserve.
For more information about the requirements of the adopted rule or for technical assistance on standards and supports for teacher and principal effectiveness, I invite you to contact Maine DOE Educator Effectiveness Coordinator Mary Paine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-624-6748.