We hear two seemingly incongruous messages about the new APPR system as we visit schools and talk with teachers and principals. First, and most importantly, the talk in schools has changed. Teachers and leaders are talking about learning and teaching more than ever. That is a good; no make that a great, thing! Juxtaposed with that news, however, we often here about reporting and documentation procedures and paperwork that can be crushing. This is lost time – time better spent in classrooms and conversations. Soon it will be time to talk about the next iteration of our APPR plans. We have to take what we’ve learned this year and make it work better, next year. How can we decrease paperwork and increase conversation?
Is the extended observation process a good idea? Madeline Hunter suggested the preconference is a waste of time. The New Teacher Project recommends that we consider these questions when we assess (and plan to improve) our APPR process:
- Are school leaders evaluating teachers accurately?
- Are teachers generally improving their performance?
- Are schools retaining consistently top-performing teachers at higher rates than low-performing teachers?
- Are teachers receiving useful feedback based on clear expectations?
- Do teachers believe they are being evaluated fairly?
- Are school leaders getting the support they need to conduct accurate evaluations?
As we start to think about what is working and what’s in our APPR plans this year, it’s not too early to start thinking about the changes you want to employ next year to your next plan. Make sure you go through each and every step of the process and ensure that every form, every document, every step is absolutely vital to the fidelity of your plan. If not, discard it! No one has the time to waste on long, burdensome documentation if it doesn’t make a difference. Every moment we can save from the elimination of a cumbersome and unnecessary form is time that can be spent in classrooms and in growth-producing conversations with teachers.
What are your suggesting for improving the APPR process?
Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support Services