Know your rights

Teacher observations

Woman standing in classroom with green board behind and students raising hands If you are a teacher who is covered by the DOE’s teacher evaluation system known as “Advance,” your final rating is determined by a matrix that renders your final rating as Highly Effective, Effective, Developing or Ineffective, according to two measures: Measures of Student Learning — assessments that measure your students’ academic progress — and Measures of Teacher Practice (MOTP). You’ll receive your final overall rating by Sept. 1, 2018.

Under Measures of Teacher Practice, teachers engage in a cycle of observation, feedback and reflection with their principal or other evaluator. Here are some things you should know about this component of your rating.

Teachers currently have four options regarding observations:

  • Option 1: A minimum of one formal classroom observation and three informal observations is required.
  • Option 2: A minimum of six informal classroom observations is required.
  • Option 3: This option is available to teachers rated Effective or Highly Effective the previous year. The principal or other evaluator conducts four informal observations. The teacher also makes the classroom available for two nonevaluative visits from a colleague.
  • Option 4: This option is available to teachers rated Highly Effective the previous year. The principal or other evaluator makes three informal observations. The teacher also makes the classroom available for three nonevaluative visits from a colleague.

Note: A principal, as always, may observe a teacher as many times as he or she wishes.

Formal observations are those that last a full period, are scheduled by mutual agreement between you and your evaluator, and involve individual pre- and post-observation conferences with your evaluator. The post-observation conference serves as the feedback component of the observation cycle. The pre-observation conference must be conducted within 20 school days preceding the observation, and the post-observation conference must be conducted within 20 school days following the observation.

Informal observations last a minimum of 15 minutes and may be unannounced. After an informal observation, your evaluator must provide you with feedback (which can take the form of an in-person conversation, an email, a written note, etc.) within 15 school days and a completed Evaluator Form within 45 school days. From the time your observation is conducted to the time you receive your scored Evaluator Form, your evaluator may conduct only one other observation.

To prepare for your observations, you will have an Initial Planning Conference with your evaluator, which should be scheduled for no later than the last Friday in October. Your evaluator should complete all observations by the first Friday in June and hold a summative conference with you between the last Friday in April and the last Friday in June.

During an observation, your evaluator will rate you on observable evidence related to eight key components of the Danielson Framework for Teaching. These are:

  • 1a: Demonstrating knowledge of content and pedagogy;
  • 1e: Designing coherent instruction;
  • 2a: Creating an environment of respect and rapport;
  • 2d: Managing student behavior;
  • 3b: Using questioning and discussion techniques;
  • 3c: Engaging students in learning;
  • 3d: Using assessment in instruction;
  • 4e: Growing and developing professionally.

No more than one evaluator and two school-based observers should be present during your observations. The superintendent and deputy superintendent are considered school-based for this purpose.

Components in Domains 2 and 3 are weighted more heavily (85 percent of your rating) than components in Domains 1 and 4 (15 percent). Scores from formal and informal observations count equally. Your final MOTP rating is determined using these scoring ranges:

  • 3.51–4.00: Highly Effective
  • 2.51–3.50: Effective
  • 1.75–2.50: Developing
  • 0.00–1.74: Ineffective

You will receive your final MOTP rating by the last day of school.

If your evaluator does not adhere to the correct timeline or if you have other concerns about how your observations were conducted, you have the right to file an Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) Resolution Assistance Request to present to your principal for resolving the issue. You must file this form within five school days of knowledge of the act or occurrence that led to this request. You may file the form online. Teachers not covered by Advance, including pre-K teachers, continue under the S/U system spelled out in the document “Teaching for the 21st Century.”

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