Maine school districts begin school year with new teacher and principal evaluation systems

AUGUSTA – As the 2016-17 school year gets underway, Maine schools are undertaking newly revised teacher and principal evaluation systems. This year, for the first time, the majority of teachers and principals will be evaluated based on a professional practice model using a system that incorporates a student growth measure for educators.

This major shift is the result of legislative changes adopted in the 125th Legislature and reflected in the Maine Department of Education’s Rule Chapter 180. Districts across the state have been working for years with stakeholders through development and steering committees to determine the details of each district’s evaluation plan for teachers and principals.

The Maine Department of Education plans to share all teacher and principal evaluation plans from every district on a dashboard available to the public through the Educator Effectiveness webpage in order to give a detailed, comprehensive look at each district’s approach. In doing so, the goal is a continual learning, development, and adjustment process for districts to improve the quality of each plan.

While Rule Chapter 180 outlines specific components that are required to be a part of each district’s evaluation system, districts had much autonomy in how to approach the development of their systems. Districts chose a professional practice model, student growth measures, results and consequences for teacher and principal effectiveness ratings, as well as the schedule for conducting evaluations. For more information on each of these components, please see below.

By design, the evaluation system has a strong emphasis on the development of a teacher’s professional growth as an educator. Both teacher and principal training play a large role in the new systems.

School officials with inquiries about this matter should contact Chuck Lomonte, Educator Effectiveness Coordinator, at 624-6748 or at charles.lomonte@maine.gov.

Media inquiries should be directed to Jamie Logan, Communications Director, at 287-6747 or at jamie.e.logan@maine.gov.


Information on Components

Professional Practice Model
Although the Maine Department of Education has approved five professional practice models for districts to use with their teachers and four professional practice models to use with their principals, some districts developed their own model, backed by rubrics, for all educators.

Student Growth
An important component in this evaluation system is student growth. Rule Chapter 180 requires two measures of student growth in every educator’s evaluation, and that student growth be included as a “significant factor” in every educator’s evaluation.

Summative Effectiveness Ratings for Teachers and Principals
Each district’s evaluation system must result in placement of educators into one of the following four summative effectiveness rating categories: Highly Effective; Effective; Partially Effective; and Ineffective. School districts are responsible for determining the results and consequences for educators in each category.

Schedule of Evaluation
Each school district determined its own frequency of full evaluations resulting in a summative effectiveness rating, though it must fall within Rule Chapter 180’s requirement of once every third year. Additionally, districts must also conduct observations annually on every educator. The schedule of evaluations varies across the state based on capacity and the number of teachers and administrators in each district. Some school districts have varied the frequency of observations and evaluations based on an educator’s summative effectiveness rating.

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