Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy (Denver, CO): Peer Evaluation Process (pp. 6-9)

The MSLA staff shares information about the processes that teachers used to observe and evaluate one another.

The staff at the Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA) engages in a Peer Evaluation Process. This process is designed to both provide feedback for instructional imporvement, as well as be used for evaluation purposes. The attached document was submitted during the school approval process. Pages 6-9 provide information about the original process. Given that the school has been open since 2009, the staff had undergone reflection and has adjusted the process in order to meet the shifitng demands of new evlauation systems in Colorado and Denver Public Schools. Provided here are some additional details about how the staff at MSLA carries out their Peer Evaluation Process.

Peer Observation and Feedback Teams

  • All teachers, including Lead Teachers, are on a team of 3 colleagues. These teams are selected based on teacher preferences, the needs of the teachers, and the insight of the Lead Teachers. There is an effort to include at least one National Board Certified Teacher on each team.
  • The team collectively focuses their work on the designated school-wide goal from the evaluation rubric.
  • Each individual teacher selects an individual focus area from the evaluation rubric to work on for the year.

Observation and Feedback Process

  • Members of each team observe one another and give feedback 3-4 times a year.
  • The time to conduct these observations is created by hiring 2 substitute teachers for 2 days. All teachers sign up substitute coverage for the observations.
  • Teams meet during the staff meeting prior to observations to share what they want the team to look for and give feedback on.
  • Teams meet during the staff meeting the following week to give feedback to their colleagues.
  • Information in the form of anecdotal notes from observation and feedback sessions is given to the Lead Teachers in the form of notes. No scoring according to the evaluation rubric is done.

Evaluation Process

  • The Lead Teachers are designated evaluators as required by state statute and secured via waivers. There is also a Memorandum of Understanding in place between the local association, Denver Classroom Teachers Association, and the district, Denver Public Schools.
  • The Lead Teachers conduct their own observation and feedback sessions with each teacher and score according to the district evaluation rubric.
  • The Lead Teachers take into consideration the antecdotal notes from Peer Observation and Feedback teams when assigning scores for evaluation purposes.
  • The Lead Teachers carry out any corrective action or dismissal proceedings in alignment with what the contract says. If a teacher gets to this point, the Lead Teacher effectively becomes the “principal” for legal purposes.
  • The Lead Teacher with designated evaluation responsiblities is evaluated by district personnel as a principal would be evaluated.

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Determining an approach to teacher evaluation and tenure