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Supervising the Marginal Teacher (SMT). SMT is properly viewed as a minor (but valuable) subsystem of a school organization’s mutual benefit evaluation system.

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SMT is properly viewed as a minor (but valuable)subsystem of a school organization’s mutual benefitevaluation system.

YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN MUTUAL BENEFITEVALUATION? OK—but plan on spending many more dollars in litigation than you would in creating a good system for due process supervision.


WE JUST WANT TO FIRE TEACHERS (or better yet, ignore them), NOT CHANGE ANYTHING!You won’t. The no hassle conspiracy will continue in your school organization.


MAJOR EFFECTS OF TEACHER EVALUATION:1. A powerful improvement strategy.2.  Improved teacher/administrator communication.3.  Increased teacher awareness of instructional goals and their classroom practices.4.  Teachers report an increased sense of professionalism and motivation to improve classroom practices.5.   Overcomes traditional classroom isolation.6.    Pride in teacher support for evaluation and the professionalism that implies. 7.    Personnel actions do result (people do get dropped, counseled out).


BROAD GOALS FOR TEACHER EVALUATION1.Personnel decisions—informed decisions about placement and tenure.2.Staff development—practices to identify areas for inservice. 3. School improvement—practices to upgrade quality of instruction.4.Accountability—provides evidence the teaching standards are being set and met.


MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH SMT:1.Principals’ attitude, competence, and ability to assume the role. Role conflict—collegial, yet judge?2.Added chore—nothing taken away.3.Teacher resistance or apathy.4.Lack of uniformity and consistency among school buildings. 


THE COST OF IGNORING INCOMPETENT TEACHERS:1.Undermines political support of parents and taxpayers.2.Lowers morale of competent teachers.3. Diminishes the educational opportunity of some students.


DUE PROCESS SUPERVISION:1.Valid2.Reliable3. Legally discriminating * Provides due process long before any individual is in trouble.


SMT: -10% of teachers -Remove (2-3%) -Improve (8-10%) -Dedicated to improving rather than removing. -The deciding factor—is the teacher coachable?


WITH MORE SMT EXPERIENCE, APPRAISERS WILL DEAL WITH:1.Teachers who do not provide curriculum alignment.2.Teachers whose instruction lacks curriculum density.3. Teachers who need a wellness program.

SUPERVISING THE MARGINAL TEACHER OPTIONS:1.Intensive assistance2.Progressive discipline.3. Dismissal

Intensive Assistance:1.Intensive assistance for teachers who are subpar.2.Administrative assistance for administrators who are subpar.3. For those who are not performing according to standards (can’t do the job).


NEED TO TERMINATE AN EXPERIENCED, CERTIFIED, TENURED TEACHER WHO DOES NOT MEET YOUR STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE?HOW?-Tenure: not a shield for incompetency.-Due process supervision is good faith supervision.  


DUE PROCESS RIGHTS (Judicial):1. Notice2. A fair hearing3. Personal presence at the hearing4.Legal counsel5.Confront the accuser(s)6.Cross examine witnesses7.Introduce evidence8.Freedom from arbitrary rulings9.Fairness and impartiality10.Proof of damage11.Appeal to a higher tribunal


HARASSMENT!No one ever told me my teaching wasn’t satisfactory -- Hot Notice! -If you could reduce my class size. -If you could transfer those bad kids. -If you could excuse me from that study hall. -If you could just get rid of that principal . . .


WE MUST BE NEAT!Notice: What are the rules, standards, policies for all teachers for orderly, proper district operation?Explanation: Feedback; what am I doing wrong?Assistance: Caring, deliberate help to get better.Time: I’ve had tenure for years; my teaching issubpar; it will take time to improve.




ONCE YOU HAVE GOOD STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE YOU CAN:Orient to standards.Coach to standards.Use standards to guide staff development.Hold people accountable to those standards.


I GOT MAD; I CHEWED THE TEACHER OUT!(I’m in trouble?) NO! -Notice is notice -Feedback is feedback -Admit to teacher, “I got so upset about what you’re doing to kids, I yelled at you!”

try a transfer try a new september no change dismissal one more time be neat

INTENSIVE ASSISTANCE—PHASE ISteps: 1.Level with the teacher.* 2. Increase frequency of formal observation. 3. Provide help to improve. 4.Allow time to improve. 5. Provide written and oral progress reports. *Optional: Confirm with other evaluators.


IMPLEMENTING THE PLANFirst Year:1.Evaluate less than “meets”2.Develop improvement plan3.Offer one transfer4.Request assistance team5.Appoint assistance team6.Team meets with teacher7.Assistance begins8.Monitor performance monthly9.Evaluate performance in May


ASSISTANCE TEAMThe assistance team is designed to provide optimum support for a teacher when a principal has determined a teacher’s performance is less than satisfactory. ·curriculum specialist·principal (outside)·supervisor (central office)


THE TEACHER IS PROVIDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOLUNTEER FOR ASSISTANCE Performance evaluation continues during intensive assistance. ·The team—intensive assistance·The principal—teacher performance evaluation.

assistance team procedures
Assistance Team Procedures:
  • Steps:
    • Principals must evaluate performance less than satisfactory
    • Principal formally requests appointment of assistant team
    • Assistance team is appointed
    • Teacher meets with team for assistance
components of improvement plan
Components of improvement plan:
  • Diagnosis of problem
  • Objectives for improvement
  • Procedures and/or resources for achieving objectives
  • Appraisal method and target date for achievement
  • Signatures of principal and teacher
implementing the plan
Implementing the plan:
  • Second year:
    • Review improvement plan
    • Monitor performance monthly
    • Evaluate performance
    • Prepare recommendations
profile of the marginal teacher
Profile of the marginal teacher:
  • Inadequate planning
  • Poor classroom control
  • Differentiation of instruction (all get the same)
  • Poor interpersonal relations (the screamers and shouters)
profile of the marginal teacher1
Profile of the marginal teacher:
  • Elementary marginal teachers are older, single women
  • Secondary marginal teachers are older, married men with unhappy marriages and life
when a teacher can t or won t improve that is he or she is not coachable the next step is dismissal
When a teacher can’t or won’t improve (that is, he or she is not coachable), the next step is dismissal.
members of the dismissal team
Members of the dismissal team:
  • Board
  • Superintendent
  • Attorney
  • Personnel officer
  • Range of those who have supervisory contact
  • The supervisor “at arm’s length”
the team is always overly concerned with documentation
The team is always overly concerned with documentation:
  • Don’t confuse documents with documentation
    • Description of evaluations for all teachers and administrators
    • A record of checked performance of individual involved
    • Need dates of observations and eventual confrontation
    • Need dates and prose of the warning you gave
court will ask
Court will ask:
  • Are your reasons supported by credible evidence?
  • When weighed by an unbiased mind?
  • Guided by common sense?
  • Due process supervision will take care of this!
superintendent s role
Superintendent’s Role:
  • More than just sic’ em!
    • Decides when subpar performance can no longer be tolerated
    • Must have in place a systematic way of diagnosing teacher weakness
    • Direct access to school’s legal counsel
    • Must be the one to recommend dismissal
    • In fact, should be observing principals in much the same way
the board s role if they mean it when they say we re behind you
The Board’s Role (if they mean it when they say, “We’re behind you!”):
  • Make the shift to quasijudicial body in the hearing
  • Must hear and decide upon the weight of evidence
  • Has to agree to a future date for a hearing (often set at 30 working days – six actual weeks.) Gives teacher time – again careful due process.
the judicial role is a tough new experience
The judicial role is a tough new experience:
  • Tough because:
    • Boards may not have judicial experience
    • May incur the wrath of the community
  • Worries:
    • What if the principal is wrong?
    • What if we lose?
    • What will become of the teacher?
    • What if he/she counter sues?
    • Could our CEO have avoided this?
alternatives to board ruling
Alternatives to Board Ruling:
  • Peer review
  • External panel
  • Do nothing!
  • Board hearings may need to improve, but they’re here to stay!
the hearing
The Hearing:
  • Start with a statement of charge (issues on which dismissal will hinge)
  • Charges must fit state law (must key into one or more state recognized reasons)
    • Inefficiency
    • Incapacity
    • Conduct unbecoming
    • Insubordination
    • Other good cause
language must focus on issues raised
Language must focus on issues raised:
  • “Failure to resolve conflict with students resulted in low morale and lack of achievement in class and bitterness on the part of students and their parents.”
    • Move to evidence showing support for each of these charges
    • Board president or chair presides
    • Board must ask hard questions to get the truth
    • Deliberation stage
    • The vote (often need 2/3 agreement. Can’t vote unless attended hearing.)
Ground rules for hearing
    • Have these in place prior and communicated to all
  • Manage the Hearing:
    • Appoint someone to serve in this role
    • Plan the presentation
    • Present one charge at a time
    • Testimony should bring out time, date, and location
    • Anticipate teacher’s defense
    • Calm your witness
    • Cross examination training
    • Prepare back-up documentation
    • Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth!