Union School Board members have a better understanding on how teachers are evaluated under a relatively new evaluation process, the Network for Effective Evaluators (NEE).

The district was one of 22 to pilot the NEE program in 2012 and adopted it the following year, which Superintendent Steve Bryant called a transition year. This is the second full year the program has been in place.

“We’ve talked about this system before, and the board knew we were using this system, but they never saw the actual mechanics,” Bryant said. “This year we’ve done a good job of fully implementing the entire evaluation system.”

Aaron Jones, assistant superintendent, made a presentation on NEE to board members, complete with videos of teachers in classrooms who they could evaluate on their own using the model.

Prior to NEE, the district was using Performance Based Teacher Evaluations (PBTE), which Bryant said was “very subjective.”

The district now focuses on three standards when completing evaluations. Standards include cognitively engaging students in subject matter, teaching for critical thinking and use of student data to analyze and modify instruction.

Teachers and principals also can choose other standards to focus on in addition to the three focus standards.

Administrators can look at evaluation averages in the district, by school or compared to other schools in the state for comparison.

After teachers are evaluated, the receive an email and a post-evaluation conference is scheduled.

About NEE

NEE is a comprehensive evaluation system based on new Missouri standards for educators and including a web-based platform for storing and managing data on each educator in the building/district.

Jones showed school board members how the web-based platform works, including following links to help guides and professional development strategies.

Evaluators are trained to make consistent and reliable assessments of educators’ professional effectiveness, engagement with students, professional development activities, and achievement of goals.

The focus is on helping educators grow and improve.

Multiple sources of data are used to in the evaluation, including classroom observations, student surveys, unit of instruction, professional development plans and student performance.

Each teacher is observed a minimum of six times per year for an average of 10 minutes each visit. Often, the visits are longer, Jones noted.

He used the instructional videos to show board members how much can be gleaned from a classroom within just a few minutes.

So far, Bryant said teachers are pleased with the growth model and its implementation.