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Student Growth “IT” Matters. Tom Townsend, Superintendent Putnam County School District. Agenda Why we did what we did District Values Questions we explored Sources of Answers Plan of Action Where we are Where we are going. The Perfect Storm Putnam County School District:

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Student Growth

“IT” Matters

Tom Townsend, Superintendent

Putnam County School District



  • Why we did what we did
  • District Values
  • Questions we explored
  • Sources of Answers
  • Plan of Action
  • Where we are
  • Where we are going

The Perfect Storm

  • Putnam County School District:
  • Trend of declining enrollment and parent involvement
  • Projected $14 million dollar shortfall
  • Declining ranking on state assessments in Reading, Mathematics
  • Schools operating in curricular isolation
  • Teacher Evaluation System that did not inform instructional development or focus upon aligning teacher practice with student performance

So, we dove in . . .

and embarked on a conscious, deliberate process of building a single district culture


#1 influence on student achievement = quality of instruction provided by the teacher

  • Quality instruction has to be defined and accepted collectively
  • Effective practices associated with quality instruction must be clearly articulated to those who do the work
  • An effective evaluative methodology must communicate the expectation of continuous instructional improvement

Here’s What We Know

  • Student achievement will not improve unless teaching improves
  • Teachers working alone without feedback will not be able to improve no matter how much professional development they receive
  • The challenge of Teacher Evaluation is to create a system of continuous improvement of instruction, professional development, and feedback
  • Supervision needs to be frequent and focused on the improvement of instruction within a common language of Instruction

What is ‘IT’ that makes our highly effective teachers so different than our lower performing ones?

  • Is it how they bring rigor, active student engagement and power standards to bear on classroom activity?
  • How do we expand the influence of our teachers with ‘IT’ to those without ‘IT’?
  • How can ‘IT” be measured?

Data Driven Instruction

Professional Development

“End product we created is not what has the most merit, it is the process we went through to get there that is of the most benefit.”

“ . . . sharing with teachers from other schools. We often have time to share with those at our school, but those at other schools we often don't see!”


Putnam’s Evaluation System

  • for Instructional Personnel
  • Is based on contemporary research
  • Is designed to align with the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs)
  • Conforms with the requirements of Florida’s Race to the Top (RTTT) plan and Memorandum of Understanding with the Union
  • Conforms with the requirements in Senate Bill 736
  • Provides the basis for Performance Based Compensation (PBC) for the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF)
  • Is FOCUSED on continuous development and improvement

The Ten Year Rule

  • It takes approximately ten years or 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to reach expert status
  • Number years of experience is not necessarily a predictor of performance
  • Teachers progress through various stages on the way to becoming expert
    • Factors include:
      • Motivation
      • Focused Feedback
      • Focused Practice

Common Language

  • Marzano Model of Teacher Observation and Evaluation
  • 4 Domains
    • Classroom Strategies and Behaviors
      • 3 Lesson Segments
      • 41 Key Elements
    • Planning and Preparation
      • 8 Key Elements
    • Reflection on Teaching
      • 5 Key Elements
    • Collegiality and Professionalism
      • 6 Key Elements

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. 

~Alvin Toffler