Weather Forecast


Schools prep for Educator Effectiveness System

New statewide teacher and principal evaluation standards will go into effect for the 2014-15 school year and the New Richmond School District is doing its best to get a jumpstart on the program.

The Educator Effectiveness System will become law in 2014 and, to help prepare, several New Richmond administrators and teachers are participating in a pilot program to get a better handle on what will be required of them.

The new system is designed to measure the effectiveness of a teacher or principal based on educator practices and student outcomes.

The decision to join the pilot program was simple, said Jeff Moberg, district administrator.

“A lot of this system is unknown and the details aren’t quite defined yet,” he said. “Having staff and principals willing to be part of that pilot during this school year — we can use that information to help train our staff.”

He said the timing of the Educator Effectiveness System, along with the other statewide initiatives implemented within the last year — ACT 10 and the Common Core standards — had teachers and school staff overwhelmed.

“ACT 10 left a lot of unknowns for our staff and then Common Core comes right behind that and that’s a lot of unknowns... Then the Educator Effectiveness comes out and that says you’re going to be evaluated on the Common Core, which we’re just getting, and all the unknowns related to ACT 10 and then it impacts salary...” he said. “So staff are sitting with all these initiatives coming down and really not a lot of clarity or information. I think people volunteering for that pilot is going to help bring back that information and help educate all of us on the process. And when you get educated on things, it just helps resolve some of that anxiety.”

A group of seven district employees recently attended a three-day training session in Rice Lake to learn more about the pilot. Of those seven, Andy Hoeppner, principal at Starr Elementary, and Tracy Boyle, second grade teacher at Starr; and Tom Wissink, principal at New Richmond High School, and Josh Fiege, high school social studies teacher, will participate in the pilot.

Fiege said he volunteered for the pilot to get answers.

“I think from a teacher standpoint there’s a lot of fear surrounding the ambiguity of what teacher effectiveness was going to be,” he said. “No one really knew what the components were going to be and, even going through the training, they were still talking about modifying it and making it better.”

He said after the three-day training in Rice Lake, he already feels much better about the new initiative.

“A lot of teachers are going to see that this is going to be very valuable both from a teaching standpoint and applying this to students,” he said.

Hoeppner agreed.

“It gives all the principals and all the teachers a common language to talk about how we’re going to get better,” he said. “Breaking it all the way down to the level of the teacher — we’re all going to get better as a school district.”

The new standards will measure the effectiveness of principals and teachers based on roughly 22 components, Moberg said.

“Teachers are evaluated on those 22 components and there’s a rubric for those and they’re required to provide artifacts to show evidence of all those things,” he said.

The process will be much more time consuming than the way the district currently evaluates teachers — using Wisconsin’s 10 Teaching Standards.

“This model is in the spirit of helping people grow,” Moberg said. “From a leadership standpoint, from a teaching standpoint, that needs to be our basis as we approach this model. It’s not a rank-and-sort model, this model is in the spirit of helping people grow.”

To help the district prepare for the implementation of the Educator Effectiveness System, the district has decided to change the way teachers are evaluated during this coming school year.

For the 2013-14 school year, the district will use the Danielson model, which is what the Educator Effectiveness System is built from.

“That will help give principals and staff an initial look or an initial way to get comfortable with that tool,” Moberg said. “We want to be able to do this well. We don’t want it to just be an exercise that we get done. We want to implement it with the intent that was — and that is, again, to help people grow.”

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
(715) 243-7767 x243