A new teacher evaluation system was approved by the Washington School Board at a special meeting Thursday morning.

The board endorsed implementing the MU Network for Educator Effectiveness Professional Growth System for Teacher Evaluation.

Total cost for the system in year one is $15,200 to train 19 administrators, for year two and beyond the cost is $5,700 for recertification training and online courses.

The district also will pay an annual database and professional development resource access fee of $3,876.

School districts can adopt the state’s model system or implement a system of their own that aligns with seven Essential Principles of Effective Evaluation set by the state.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said the district explored the state’s Performance Evaluation Model, however, principal training is not offered and the system is not online.

“We believe the certification of principals through the MU training program, Network for Educator Effectiveness, and their ongoing support will maximize our principals’ abilities to support our teaching staff while also ensuring evaluator accountability,” she said.

The seven essential principles focus on the educational practices and professional development of teachers, principals and superintendents.

VanLeer noted that performance evaluation models are currently being revised in the area of principal and superintendent evaluation.

Missouri law requires all school districts in the state to evaluate educators employed by the district.

Preparing and supporting effective educators is one of the primary goals of Missouri’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to be among the top 10 states in education by the year 2020.

MU Network

The University of Missouri’s College of Education developed the Educator Professional Growth System with a goal to improve effectiveness by clearly identifying where each educator is on specific measurable indicators and by providing support.

VanLeer said the MU system is aligned with the state measures and meets all requirements.

The big difference between the two, she said, is the training. The state does not offer training.

“We want consistency in the way our administrators evaluate teachers so the training is important,” she said.

VanLeer said the system is web based which will allow her to see how often administrators are visiting classrooms and conducting evaluations, and also will allow administrators to input data as they move through the buildings.

She did note that teachers are not evaluated based on standardized test scores under the new system.

“We’re always looking at data so we can see strengths and weaknesses, but it’s not a certain percentage of a teacher’s evaluation,” she said. “It would be rather rigorous and cumbersome to implement something like this without quality training.”

VanLeer said administrators will be trained on the new system over three days this summer to become a certified evaluator. Recertification is required each year.

Teachers also will be informed of the new system so they understand the key pieces and scoring process and the evaluation time line. Each teacher will be able to access an online account to store data, access their report at any time and access online learning modules.

Other school districts in the area, including Union and St. Clair, have already or are now adopting the MU Network.