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Northland Districts Pilot New Teacher Evaluation System

Updated: 01/20/2014 6:48 PM
Created: 01/20/2014 4:30 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

While Northland students enjoyed the day off Monday, a group of educators took a turn learning during a workshop at Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids.

They were learning more about a new system for teacher development and evaluation. It tracks the performance of both teachers and students.

"This really puts it in an organized way so it's easier to implement," teacher Kathy Miller said.

Educators from the Greenway and Nashwauk-Keewatin school districts were at the workshop. The districts have implemented the Marzano Model, named after the man who designed it.

The system provides teachers and principals with a way to set goals and improve. While annual teacher evaluations will be required by law this fall, Nashwauk-Keewatin Principal Jeff Britten said they're going above and beyond.

"We're focusing more on growth, but that in the process creates an opportunity to evaluate where people are at," Britten said.

The system works in several different ways. For example, peer coaching where teachers teach each other.

"The great part about the Marzano Model is it provides wonderful training for our peer coaches," Britten said. "It creates a common vocabulary between everybody, from teachers to administrators."

The model also works with input from students. Teachers will gage a student's knowledge before and after a lesson using a shared number scale.

"A one means I don't know anything about it," Miller said. "Two means I know a little bit. Three means I know a lot. Four means I could teach it."

"It's proof that if you believe students can achieve, they will, if give them the proper tools," teacher Aimee Bandelin said.

If districts haven't adopted a model for teacher evaluation by the fall of 2014, the state will provide a standardized system.

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