Staff input helped create district’s unique system
Platte County Board of Education members lauded a presentation for a new teacher evaluation model during the June 19 meeting – an innovative plan likely to be approved next month. Under the direction of assistant superintendents Dr. Rob Gardner and Dr. Mike Brown, a committee of more than 30 Platte County staff members from across the district started meeting in October, and during the next eight months, they formed the model for EPIC — Educator Performance Improvement Cycle. Gardner said Platte County is believed to be the only district that didn’t simply adopt the state’s Model Educator Evaluation program or other designed products. “We met probably eight times — all day long — had great discussion, collaboration, even disagreement,” Gardner said, “but built consensus on what we felt best met the needs of the professional educator, our kids and our administrators. “I know of no other district that has literally built their evaluation by asking their teachers and involving them in this and building from the ground up. Platte County is very unique in this arena.” While the committee needed to tailor some aspects to the state’s mandates, EPIC provides a unique approach to teacher evaluation. The program aims to foster growth in the educators to benefit the students. The framework centers around practice, commitment and impact with five Platte County pillars — professionalism, classroom climate, instructional design, instructional delivery and student growth/data analysis. Each pillar contains quality indicators, and teachers will work with administration to choose two to four of them. Assessment on growth will be given at the end of the school year, and some quality indicator plans could be extended across multiple years. “The last thing we wanted to do was create a model that was not user-friendly and not really get to what we want which is really all about improvement,” Brown said. Each of the five board members present talked positively about the presentation during closing comments. Lenora Miles called the effort phenomenal. The board will be asked to approve the plan during the July 17 meeting in accordance with a state mandate to have a system in place by August. Gardner said that offers plenty of time for teachers to familiarize with the principles because informative meetings have already been held in anticipation of EPIC’s installation. “Every teacher wants to get better. It’s innate,” said Miles, herself a former Platte County High School teacher. The board also approved the district’s 2014-15 tentative budget.
Read the whole story in this week's issue of the Citizen.