District leaders share educator evaluation system implementation strategies

A panel of district leaders who have experienced the challenges and the success of developing and implementing Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) systems shared their success strategies with more than 100 participants from across the state at a recent seminar hosted by legal firm Drummond Woodsum in partnership with the Maine School Management Association.

The seminar, “Evaluation that Works: Implementing Your New Educator Effectiveness System,” was designed to help school administrators and school board members develop a system that is “user-friendly, complies with the law and regulations, and achieves its intended purposes.”

The panel offered the following words of wisdom and advice to members of the audience as they continue with the hard work of developing their PEPG systems.

While you are making sure you comply with the law, don’t forget that this is all about professional growth and improvement.

The implementation of a performance evaluation system is an investment; we cannot underestimate the need for extensive and ongoing training of evaluators and educators. We have made that investment, and we see the quality of evaluation improving.

Keep the details of your plan thoughtful but simple. Your teachers and principals will be grateful.

Look to your district plan when designing your system and make sure all the arrows are pointing in that direction.

Teachers who at first feared that this [PEPG system] is just a way to get rid of bad teachers have come to see that this is an opportunity for them to be supported, to have a voice in their evaluation and to provide evidence of their performance.

It has taken time and a slow gradual approach, but we now see teachers and principals growing more comfortable with examining and talking about their own practice.

While much of the advice passed among participants of the event reflected the beginning stages of a major initiative, one superintendent reminded attendees of the promise that Maine’s collective work holds saying, “We are raising the bar on performance, and we are doing it together.”

As it has for the past several years, the Maine DOE will to continue to support districts by providing information, technical support and guidance related to PEPG systems. For more information or technical assistance, please contact the Department’s Educator Effectiveness Coordinator Mary Paine at mary.paine@maine.gov or 624-6748.