After five months of planning, the Moorestown Board of Education ended a recent public engagement meeting answering a question on the district’s preparedness and transparency in teacher evaluation within the asynchronous and synchronous teaching “landing pad” with a response that meant nothing and everything, in complete synchrony: The district is committed to conducting teacher evaluations but is not sure how it will be conducted.
The lack of a coherent and succinct response to the state’s mandated teacher evaluation process is unsettling. I thought this question, to borrow baseball terminology, was a meatball. Surely, our school district, one in which we all gloat and support, would have created and shared with its teacher a performance evaluation process that is linked to student achievement and aligned to training and instructional development and the calibration of new resources. NOPE!
So why does this matter? Well, it’s mandated. It impacts teacher certification. It impacts teacher tenure. And most importantly, the evaluation process informs instructional development and district improvement and leads to enhanced student achievement. The planning of instruction is incomplete without a planned method of feedback and evaluation. With just a few weeks, before the unknowns of school begins, I hope there is time to develop a full educational plan that includes a teaching evaluation process that continues to strengthen our district.
As a parent, I will work with my child’s teachers to ensure this year is a success. As a parent, I expected the district to raise student achievement by improving instruction through the adoption of evaluations that provide specific feedback to educators, informs the provision of aligned professional development regardless of the method of delivery. As a voter, I will remember that my evaluation of the reopening planning is that it remained incomplete. It’s time for new leadership on our school board.