There is a dramatic change affecting more and more of my school district clients. Teacher evaluations are becoming a hot-button issue in the evolution of our educational system, with the positive and negative implications being debated in Op-Ed pages, state legislatures and school board meetings. But when required by state law to implement teacher evaluations, how can school administrators carry out their obligations while still preserving and honoring the vital relationship with their teaching staff?
On a cold February morning, our CEO Suhail Farooqui and I set out to explore this issue on behalf of a client of ours in Michigan, a state experiencing its first year of mandated teacher evaluations. In focus groups comprised of teachers, union leaders and building level administrators, we encouraged an open dialogue about a range of issues. Yet the conversation consistently returned to the challenges presented by the teacher evaluation process. It became abundantly clear that beyond the obvious logistical and administrative issues, there is a communications hurdle to be resolved as well.
K12 Insight’s Climate and Engagement surveys delve into specific factors contributing to satisfaction and morale, while allowing administrators and teachers to fully understand the evaluation process. Listening to survey feedback — and showing a willingness to respond to both positive and negative input — will help administrators build a reservoir of invaluable trust capital.