The Main Stream

May 10, 2013 8:42 PM by Erika Flores

Teacher evaluation system stiffens

TUCSON - The teacher evaluation system stiffens this year for schools across Arizona. It is a system that grades teachers in a big way by student performance.

Quantitative data on student progress such as test scores have to account for between 33 to 50 percent of each evaluation.

"It is a little bit of pressure, sure, but teaching in itself is a lot of pressure," said Lakota Daniels, teacher at La Paloma Academy.

La Paloma Academy has already implemented the changes this year.

"It helps you. If you are seeing that you need to improve in certain areas, well that will help you, and you will be able to do a better job," said Ruth Alvarez , teacher with La Paloma Academy.

Alvarez just started teaching this year and knows a lot is riding on her evaluation.

"It is at the beginning because you are finding yourself as a teacher and there are a lot of things you don't know," said Alvarez.

At the Tucson Unified School District, 150 evaluators including principals and other administrative staff have gone through training to learn how to evaluate teachers and what to do if they find the teachers are ineffective.

"It's an evaluation instrument, but it's a professional growth system as well," said Maria Menconi, TUSD deputy superintendent.

Menconi said in this new system, the teacher has two year to prove him or herself before they get the boot.

"You have effective teachers in the classroom, and you have stronger student learning. You have ineffective teachers in the classroom, and you can really watch the kids slide downwards," said Menconi.

Parent Chris Schoonover agreed.

"They can be the best teacher in the world, but if their students aren't getting it, than they are not doing something right," said Schoonover.

The change stems from a law that was passed in 2010 to put more emphasis on student achievement.

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