Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Guidance on Advance - Email to Principals from Deputy Chancellor David Weiner - Nov., 2013 -

I know this is old but some interesting tidbits about their thinking -- I learned a lot at the Peter Zucker 3020a from the testimony of the principal -- they must have a paper trail and show how they gave "support" --- if you can call it that. Also some points about tenure -- tenure is a political football where principals want to show how "tough" they are through denials.

Email to Principals from Deputy Chancellor David Weiner 

November 22, 2013
I’m writing today to share additional guidance on Advance and new resources that can support you and your school community. This guidance is driven by our deep belief that principals must be empowered to make the key decisions that affect their schools. You know your staff best; if Advance is going to be the powerful lever for teacher development and student learning that it can be, you need some flexibility to make it work for you and your team. You need the discretion necessary to make decisions that consider the unique circumstances of your school environments. And you also need time—if you haven’t already, I encourage you to review the strategies in the Advance Guide for Educators that was released last month and to regularly check the Advance Intranet page. 

As schools experience the first year of Advance, some school leaders and teachers understandably have questions about the feedback process, the eventual ratings, and the resulting consequences for schools and teachers. We want to clarify that principals are empowered to determine the rewards and consequences that are associated with an individual teacher’s final rating.
1. In terms of the eventual ratings and any resulting rewards and consequences:
  • -  Disciplinary Action/Termination: Rather than simply moving forward with disciplinary action based on a teacher’s “Ineffective” rating, the DOE will only pursue disciplinary action (3020-a) for teachers rated poorly if principals agree. It is also important to note that principals can use their autonomy to go in another direction and recommend teachers rated “Developing” for 3020-a.
  • -  Tenure: Tenure decision-making is a distinct process from Advance. Tenure decisions are not based on formulas. Superintendents’ decisions are based on principals’ recommendations, which in turn are based on consideration of multiple sources of information. Keep in mind that tenure decisions are based upon evidence of a teacher’s effectiveness over his or her entire career, not just the year of the tenure decision.
  • -  Compensation Opportunities: Historically, teachers with poor ratings have not been eligible for certain compensation opportunities (e.g., per session or career ladder opportunities). During the first year of implementation, principals will be able to decide whether teachers who are rated poorly under Advance should qualify for these additional compensation opportunities.
    Please share this information with your staff so they are clear that the rewards and consequences that flow from their ratings will ultimately be guided by your decisions.
2. In terms of the amount of evidence required for observation reports, Commissioner King’s decision requires that administrators “provide evidence statements for any formal/informal observations.” Some school leaders have assumed that the language requires evidence for every rated component. We are asking you to provide clear and succinct evidence, but you are not required to provide evidence for every component that you rate. You can focus the evidence you choose to share on areas that you think are important for the teacher’s development. Unlike the previous evaluation system, principals do not need to provide extensive written
documentation in an observation report. Be clear, you do not have to provide evidence for every component, but you do need to provide some evidence to support the overall rating.
Therefore, I encourage you to differentiate your evidence and your feedback based on the needs of a teacher. For components that are rated “Ineffective,” it is suggested that you provide more evidence, as the teacher needs to grow and develop in these areas. For components that are rated “Effective,” you may want to provide less or no evidence, as appropriate. Shortly after the Thanksgiving break, we will be providing additional resources and examples in Principals’ Weekly of how to document evidence for observations in a clear and efficient manner.
My team and I will continue to provide critical updates and reminders about Advance in Principals’ Weekly and through weekly updates to the Advance Intranet page. New updates include:
  • -  a tool to calculate and track Measures of Teacher Practice scores; this may be especially useful for schools who have opted not to use the Advance Web Application to enter their observation data,
  • -  based on popular demand, registration information for new, monthly Danielson Group training sessions for teachers and APs, and
  • -  a one-page document featuring helpful strategies for executing Advance as efficiently as possible.
    For questions and suggestions, contact the Advance Support Helpdesk at
    Best, Dave
    Bcc: All superintendents; all network leaders; all cluster leaders
    David A. Weiner
    Deputy Chancellor for Talent, Labor and Innovation NYC Department of Education _______________________________________________

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