What does good teaching look like, and how can principals evaluate it?

Blog post

State college- and career-readiness standards continue to shape curriculum and refine learning approaches. And now educational leaders and policymakers across the nation are considering how teacher observations and evaluations can follow suit.

In January 2014, SREB joined with school administrators and educational leaders to examine this issue and more. Attendees considered the components and implementation of meaningful teacher observations and evaluations – with a focus on how they may most seamlessly align with new teaching tools and approaches initiated by new state standards that encourage effective teaching practice, such as Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and Math Design Collaborative (MDC).

“The questions we’re asking are very intentional,” said Andy Baxter, SREB vice president for Educator Effectiveness. “The answers we’re seeking are essential.”

Attendees, including principals and superintendents, shared real-life case studies, best practices and success stories, as witnessed within their own schools and districts. For example, some noted that MDC tools like classroom challenge activities and formative assessment lessons have led to higher levels of student engagement while leveraging the role of teachers as facilitators.

“We have watched teachers use these tools and seen dramatic results in the process,” said Gene Bottoms, SREB senior vice president and director of the High Schools That Work program. “The principal will be the key to instituting a continual culture of growth.”

Feedback and insights from the two-day session are informing SREB’s work in developing classroom observation tools and training aligned with LDC and MDC frameworks and state standards.