New teacher performance reviews

Massachusetts law has long required school districts to formally evaluate all professional staff. Teachers without professional status (less than 3 years experience) must be evaluated annually. Teachers with professional teaching status (more than 3 years experience) must be evaluated every two years.

The process, timelines and standards have been negotiated as part of your local collective bargaining agreement (contract), between the teachers association and the school district.

In the typical school district, evaluation consists of a sequence of classroom observations, some opportunity for a teacher to supply information about his/her professional activities during the years, and a summary evaluation at the end of the school year. Observations may sometimes be preceded by a conference with your supervisor to discuss the class and lesson to be observed. Observations should always be followed by a conference to discuss the supervisor's draft of the observation report. Any conclusion that you are not meeting required performance standards must be accompanied by a written explanation of what you must do to met the district's expectations. You must also be given a reasonable amount of time to improve. Any summary evaluation should be accompanied by a conference.

Evaluation serves two purposes: (1) to promote individual improvement and professional growth and (2) to serve as the basis for district personnel decisions (transfer, promotion, dismissal). In many districts one process addresses both; in others they are distinctly separate.While the thought of being evaluated so soon may bring on a case of nerves, evaluation should be a positive learning experience. It is part of any employment situation and provides you with important feedback. Be an active participant in the process. This will earn the respect of your supervisor and make your performance evaluation a useful learning tool.