There's a new grading system coming to Madison schools, but this one is for the teachers.
Madison administrators have been giving presentations to faculty about a new teacher evaluation system that, under state mandate, factors student achievement as half of the "grade."
Superintendent Dr. Michael Rossi and director of Curriculum and Instruction Lee Nittel have been going school-to-school discussing the new system, as well as other state-mandated changes to curriculum standards and standardized testing, Rossi said at this week's Board of Education meeting.
The presentations have answered some questions, raised other questions, and sparked a dialogue. Rossi said the district will keep the dialogue going, and work through the changes in a commendable fashion.
"Essentially the message is that we have a very, very good school district here," he said at the meeting. "We have an outstanding teaching staff and support staff, and I think we have a very competent administrative staff, and if we continue to engage in a dialogue and work together, I believe we're going to come through this proecess in a very solid and commendable fashion, but there's a lot of work to be done."
According to a copy of the presentation, which is available on the district website and attached to this article, the evaluation is based 50 percent on student achievement and 50 percent on teacher practice.
The teacher evaluations will continue to be based on a model known as Danielson Frameworks for Teachers, which scores teachers in four areas: Planning and Preparation, The Classroom Environment, Instruction, and Professional Responsibilities.
Observers will be trained to evaluate teachers fairly and consistently, teachers will learn how they are scored, and the district will form a District Evaluation Advisory Committee, the presentation says.
Madison also is updating its curriculum documents to reflect national Common Core standards, and preparing for a new standardized test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. The district is participating in field testing of the assessment, and making sure it has the technological infrastructure in place so students can take the computerized test, Rossi said.