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40 Teachers Get 5s; 62 Get 1s
by Melissa Bailey | Jan 11, 2011 7:34 am
Posted to: Schools, School Reform
(Updated) John C. Daniels School has five “exemplary” teachers. Worthington Hooker has none. Those were among the results as teachers got their first feedback from New Haven’s new teacher-grading system—one that is very much a work in progress.
School officials Monday night announced initial results from new teacher evaluations that for the first time are tied to student performance. The scores are based on three categories: instructional practices, professional values, and student achievement. Read more about the scoring here.
The district’s 1,600 teachers are being scored on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 for “needs improvement” and 5 for “exemplary.”
Teachers won’t get official report cards until June. But after an initial evaluation, teachers who appeared to be a potential 1 or 5 early in the school year were alerted by Nov. 1, so that the school can adjust course accordingly. That may mean adding professional development to get struggling teachers on track before the end of the year. The scores announced Monday are called “pre-ratings”; they may change before the end of the year.
Districtwide, 62 teachers were marked as “needs improvement” and 40 as “exemplary.”
New Haven is among the first districts in the nation to incorporate student performance into teacher evaluations, a move that President Obama has been encouraging through his Race To The Top Initiative.
As part of the new system, the 1s and 5s will be double-checked by a team of auditors the city hired through Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES). Those auditors will “validate” the pre-ratings through extra classroom observations.
The scores have consequences: If teachers marked as 1s do not improve by the end of the year, they may face termination. Those who end up with scores of 5 may be promoted to be a literacy coach or a team leader for their grade level.
Rather than revealing that one school has better teachers than another school, the initial results may just as much reveal a wide divergence in how different principals are using the new system.
For example, Principal Peggy Moore at Wilbur Cross rated seven teachers “exemplary” and seven “needs improvement.” On the other hand, James Hillhouse High Principal Kermit Carolina placed no teachers in either category.
Carolina was one of 20 principals who did that.
Some other highlights: Brennan/Rogers Principal Karen Lott, who got unprecedented autonomy to hire her own teachers at the turnaround school this year, marked seven teachers “needs improvement” and none as “exemplary.”
At the K-8 John C. Daniels School in the Hill, Principal Gina Wells marked five teachers “exemplary” and none as “needs improvement.” Worthington Hooker Principal Sheryl Hershonik scored none in either category.
Teacher union President Dave Cicarella cautioned that these results do not mean there are no “exemplary” teachers at Hooker; there could be more teachers in that category when official results come out at the end of the school year. The potential scores released Monday are a first-blush evaluation based on classroom visits. In putting together the final report cards, principals will be able to factor in more information about student growth, including scores on district assessments and whether students met academic goals the teacher set for the class at the beginning of the year.
School reform czar Garth Harries said a variety of factors affect how principals used the system. He noted that principals were asked to grade their teachers just two months into the school year.
At schools where no teachers got 1s or 5s, there may be new principals “still getting used to their staff.” Or principals may be unfamiliar with the process. They may be “waiting to see how it plays out” this year before issuing grades that have consequences.
Harries said behind every set of numbers is “a particular story and solution.” Is a principal taking a “harsh view” of her staff? Or is he looking at them through “rose-tinted glasses”?
Validators from ACES will visit “needs improvement” teachers three times and “exemplary” teachers twice to answer those questions.
“That’s why the validation process is so significant,” Harries said.
Cicarella said the results show principals “are using good discretion” in doling out the scores, keeping in mind that a score of 1 is meant for severe cases of low performance.
Teachers who score a 1 “are folks that we have serious concerns about,” he said. “They may need to be removed from the classroom in a year’s time.”
Assistant Superintendent Imma Canelli said she has already seen improvement among teachers marked as 1s early in the year, because they were given professional development to target areas of weakness. That means those teachers may get a better grade in June, and hold onto their jobs next year.
Overall, 3.5 percent of teachers were marked as potential “needs improvement,” and 2.3 percent were marked “exemplary.”
A Star On Clinton Ave
Marilyn Ciarleglio was part of that 2.3 percent.
Ciarleglio, who’s 46, is a single mom raising two kids in Branford. Following the footsteps of her father, who still teaches in New Haven Public Schools, Ciarleglio started teaching at the Clinton Avenue School 10 years ago and never left. Right now she’s a classroom teacher for 22 kids in the third grade. She stays after school to teach at the 21st Century after-school program and attends night classes to get her masters in reading.
On Monday, she showed up to the Board of Education with a bouquet of flowers. She was there to accept an honor as one of three runners-up for the district’s Teacher of the Year. Before her daughter snapped her photo accepting a plaque, Ciarleglio recounted how she came to gain another kind of recognition—one that came quietly, and has been spread only around her school.
Ciarleglio was one of three teachers at Clinton Avenue to be marked “exemplary” this year.
As part of the new teacher evaluation process, she sat down with her assistant principal and laid out goals for the year. Her goal is to “let the kids do more learning on their own, rather than depend on me.” That means more student-led activities.
When Ciarleglio got word that she was up for observation, she let her kids know there would be visitors. And she took some extra time to plan a special lesson.
Her principal, assistant principal and an evaluator walked in the door to observe. She sat the kids down for lesson in the art of story-telling. She wrote out sentences from a story and asked the kids why the author chose specific words. Was it to show a feeling? To paint a picture in the reader’s mind?
The kids broke up in groups for discussion.
Ciarleglio said the lesson went very well. She said though she did spend extra time preparing a special lesson for the visitors, there were some clear signals of the work she does every day: Her students showed that they are used to talking to each other and working in groups. They understood the lesson. They were “engaged in the activity.”
That’s what her observers concluded before giving her a 5 on the evaluation.
“She did well on everything,” said Sandy Kaliszewski, assistant principal at Clinton Avenue School and Ciarleglio’s instructional supervisor.
Ciarleglio has boosted her test scores over the years, with some kids gaining a year and a half on the Connecticut Mastery Test, Kaliszewski said. Last year, 90 percent of her students scored proficient in math, and 50 percent on reading. Their gains helped Clinton Avenue make “safe harbor,” a measure of progress off a federal watchlist for failing schools.
Kaliszewski said besides those hard numbers, Ciarleglio mentors other teachers, devotes lots of time to her job, and creates a “family environment” in her class.
“She really believes in her kids. She makes sure the kids also believe in themselves.” Ciarleglio also does well at planning classes for different abilities, she said.
The kids in Ciarleglio’s class ranged from 7 to 10 years old. It’s a “tough class,” Ciarleglio said, one that needs a lot of redirection. “I have to stay on top of them.”
Ciarleglio will now have two more visits from an A.C.E.S. auditor, one announced and one unannounced. If the auditor upholds her “exemplary” score, she could stand to rise to a leadership position.
Ciarleglio said school leadership already tried to promote her out of the classroom at the beginning of the year.
“I didn’t want to give it up,” she said. “I love being with the kids.”
Teacher union President Cicarella said even in cases less “exemplary” than Ciarleglio’s, the process has gone smoothly.
Cicarella said the most valuable part has been the goal-setting. He said the union mediated in a few cases where the two parties did not agree on a goal; for the most part teachers found the conversations valuable.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who appoints the school board, called Monday’s announcement a “seminal moment” for the district. “This was years to get to, and this was done in what seems to be a transparent, fair and accepted way.”
“Not many school districts have gotten where” New Haven’s leadership “has gotten us today,” DeStefano said.
Looking over the school-by-school results, board member Alex Johnston asked whether the district expects to see the teacher evaluations reflect where schools fall in the tiering process, where schools are graded into three categories based largely on improvement on test scores.
For example, if a struggling school jumps up a tier based on kids’ gains on state tests, or the kids’ performance stays flat, teachers evaluations should reflect that.
“We would expect it,” replied Harries, “but it’ll be fascinating to see.”
Principals are also being graded along the same timeline as teachers, with a similar grading system. However, they don’t have the system for early warning and validation of “needs improvement” and “exemplary” scores. The first official scores for principals will come out at the end of the year.
The school board is still putting together a method for grading the superintendent based on student performance.
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Can we get a list that contains names and scores? Is this public information?
[Editor: I don’t believe it’s public information. I’m personally OK with not publishing that list in any case, despite being a First Amendment zealot.]
I was very sad to see that Conte/West Hills Principal Diane Spence appears to be among the 20 local principals who did not score teachers in either category. She has some AMAZING teachers on her watch, and a few bad eggs that need to be made accountable. To those of you at Conte who go above and beyond and have provided wonderful, supportive, creative learning environments for my children and understand the important link between parents and teachers, thank you so very much!
“Those who end up with scores of 5 may be promoted to be a literacy coach or a team leader for their grade level.”
Oh, please, if this means taking them out of the classroom, don’t do it.
It concerns me that this system seems to give so much power to principals, who are human beings like the rest of us, and can have personal feelings about certain teachers as well as ideological feuds about methodology, etc. etc. My daughter taught in a troubled school in England where the principal is manifestly psychotic and has far, far too much institutional power, including the capacity to single-handedly ruin the future careers of the many teachers who quit rather than work under her any longer.
I do find it interesting that 20 principals could not make the decision to truly make the grade. Not one exemplary teacher, not one that needs to be accountable? We have had experiences with some of those schools and I could easily find a few exemplary and a few needing improvement. I don’t want teacher names. I want to hear from those principals as to their decision making.
As a former Conte parent I agree wholeheartedly with Conte Parent! There are amazing teachers there that deserve recognition as well as amazing students.The administration needs improvement and needs to not only set, but enforce standards for behavior among teachers and students. There are many stagnant or indifferent adults who need to bear responsibility instead of just sitting behind titles. Bullying is a problem at every level.There are some great teachers and students trying to teach and learn in a bad environment.
Ciarleglio will now have two more visits from an A.C.E.S. auditor, one announced and one unannounced. If the auditor upholds her “exemplary” score, she could stand to rise to a leadership position
Good God! Here we have someone good on the front lines and we try to promote her out of job. Pay her more or cut any B.S work she might have to do, but can’t we keep her teaching?
Less administrators more teachers!
When will the administrators be graded?
[Editor’s note: Principals are being graded along the same timeline as teachers, with a similar grading system. However, their scores don’t get validated, so the first official scores for principals won’t be available until the end of the year.]
Can any inferences be made about this and the tier-ing of the schools?
Thanks for the knowledge Paul. Will any assistant principals or other middle management positions be graded? I only ask because I’m all for teacher accountability, but it seems to me that waste and incompetence get shuffled around with impunity in the administrative ranks by NHBOE leadership. How can we better identify this without some sort of administrative accountability as well?
It seems that Lucia Paolello of Nathan Hale School also didn’t rate anyone a 1 or a 5. I’d hate to think she was playing it safe, and find it hard to believe that no one is in either category. What were the criteria they used in the voting, or was it all up to how they felt?
Congratulations to all of the teachers who were honored. Classroom teaching is a very difficult job, requiring a lot of creativity, patience, and good judgment. Sheryl Hershonik is new at Hooker, and is certainly missing some diamonds on her staff. Many of them have done an excellent job, and have gone out of their way consistently to inspire and challenge my children. Make sure you respect your teachers, as the parents of your school do, Mrs. Hershonik.
The other side to this story.
Judge Rules in Favor of Releasing Teacher Test Scores; Data Dump Would Promote a Flawed and Cynical Method of Accountability
By Norm Scott
January 11, 2011
As a teacher in the New Haven system, I have to say that I feel uncomfortable about how the rating system has played out to date at my school. My instructional manager, (who happens to be the principal), is one of the 20 who did not identify any 1’s or 5’s, and unfortunately he makes it painfully obvious who he likes and dislikes. That being said, many of my fellow staff members feel that this has significanly skewed the ratings. As other posters have noted, there are several exemplary teachers in my building who go to the same lengths as Ms. Kaliszewski identified about Ms. Ciarleglio and therefore deserve the same recognition.
Furthermore, I wonder exactly how valid this rating system can be. Certainly no system will be perfect, but the margin of error/ambiguity worries me. If I’ve been observed only twice so far this year but the principal seems to like me so I received a rating of a 3 (or maybe a 4, who knows?), how does that match with another teacher in another building who has been observed more (and maybe even received relevant, meaningful feedback!!), has a more neutral thinking mentality toward his likes or dislikes but receives the same rating?
To be continued, I suppose.
I am a teacher in New Haven who has not received a goal setting conference, rating, nor a “hello, how are you?” in months. I have to laugh because if I didn’t I’d be crying.
Congrats to the Clinton Ave. lady who got recognized. You remind me of myself many years ago. Now, after being disrespected and moved about (not of my making) I find myself in a position I would have never predicted. I count the days until I am able to retire out of this system that disrespects some of it’s finest teachers.
Good luck NH teachers…this could get very ugly!
Wow, I better find a school with better teachers! It’s hard to believe, not 1 5? My daughters teacher last year is a 5+ in my book!
I would immediately send those 20 principals back to try again. No one is foolish enough to believe that those listed are the only teachers in need of extra help, any more than we believe these are the only shining stars in the district. It would seem that some principals are playing politics with these reviews. I would like to see the district scrutinize the principal’s competency a little further if this is the best they can do.
I am all in favor of what is being done, both in the rankings of schools and of teachers and their supervisors. There are obviously some teachers who can’t crack it and never will, so they should be eased out of the profession into something more in line with their abilities.
The same goes for Principals and all the other support staff that have educational input. There are many average performers out there who with a little input and coaching could become stars, provided they listen to what they are told, and that they are told it in an encouraging rather than derogatory way.
However, the metrics in the linked story do not lead me to believe this is being done in a ‘personality neutral’ way. It seems to me that it won’t take long for the careerists and politically savvy to game whatever system is in place.
So far it looks like the Principals of lower tiered schools are doing this by giving their favorites good ratings, and their enemies poor ratings. Equally, the better performing schools have no stars nor dogs as teachers as their Principals are very aware that teamwork and co-operation are essential to quality education.
It seems to me that Mr Harries needs to be a far better publicist on his methodologies to generate overwhelming support. The bubble matrices presented so far are nothing new, having been developed by Mckinsey as a standard business performance tool at least forty years ago. What I would like to know, and what I think everybody needs to know, is the exact numerical quantification of teacher assessments. If there are in class peer assessments of teachers, which of course there must be, who will do them and how will they grade them. Will there be several sessions with different assessors and an average assessment arrived at.
What worries me immensely about what is going on is that, being New Haven, gross political interference will occur to disrupt children’s education and derail the careers of good teachers. Everyone knows what I mean. The Principal is pressured to lower the grading of a teacher who has not made a campaign contribution to the mayor, and talk up those who have. With the mayor up for re-election, a huge budget deficit and major layoffs on the way I fear this exercise will be very costly and yield no results.
I am also a teacher in New Haven. I spend 11 hours a day in my building teaching kids before and after school and bring work home (as I’m sure most teachers do) every night. I was excited for the new rating system because I thought my hard work and my student’s progress might get recognized but I just got criticized for the arrangement of the furniture in the classroom after a 5 minute walk through and haven’t received any feedback since. Any idea how I can find out what my rating is and why?
I am a teacher in New Haven. First, I want to say congratulations to Ms.Ciarleglio. Next, I want to say that I have found this teacher evaluation process to be extremely flawed. At my school we were asked to rate ourselves. If our principal agreed with our rating,fine. If not—then it was changed. While I did not have an issue, several competent teachers were given a rating of 1-needs improvement. This system is totally subjective and based on the administrator’s like or dislike of a particular teacher. There are many incompetent principals in New Haven. Who is making sure they are rated accurately? Last year we were asked to rate our principals. Nothing changed. The majority of the teachers at my school are hardworking,dedicated professionals who are there because they love teaching.They feel it is their calling.But they can not truly teach—with passion and creativity, because there is more and more pressure on them to teach to the test. Children are more than just a test score. And all of this rating business is getting in the way of educating the kids. It’s a sham.
posted by: Tom Burns on January 11, 2011 9:22pm
Anything new may make a person uncomfortable—but to go to the next level, change over time is necessary.Risk is called for——-and trust(which was not evident in NHPS in the past) will be earned over time through this process. We are in year one of implementation(2months in to identify POSSIBLE 1’s and 5’s) and that is why a number of very smart, capable and astute principals made the decision based on the new evaluation system to wait until next year.(kudos to them)At the end of the year they will decide who deserves a 1,2,3,4,or 5. Those principals who made decisions this year must have felt comfortable with the new system in place and had known their staff over a # of years—therefore they appropriately and professionally made the decision to identify exemplary teachers and those that they are determined to improve(1’s) which is their charge. Fear not my colleagues as we have a system in place that is second to none. I know it is not easy to trust the way things were done in the past—but we need to believe that the new process will be run professionally and without malice and favoritism. That is where your union and Garth come in to make sure everyone gets treated fairly and professionally on this agreed upon arrangement, which I believe in wholeheartedly. Never, Never, Never will we identify teachers and their specific ratings. It is imperative for us to wait to see how this unfolds to the betterment of our school community. The process is more objective than anywhere else in the US. To those of my colleagues who were identified as possible 1’s and you shouldn’t have been, you have my condolences , but just keep on doing what you are doing and the process will show your mettle and your true number. I also want the 5’s to stay in the classroom where they can make the most difference. Congratulations to Ms. Ciarleglio—-you come from good stock—-as Ray C. your dad is a champion on all fronts.
And to 3/5ths—our public school champion—thanks for the article—I hope you all read it—-it is right on—-
Our movement is different because of the people involved—their ability to think of the big picture and their willingness to take a chance and their style of inclusiveness when making decisions which is new to our city.
The blame game is over—-just results—and that doesn’t mean the infantile, self serving numerics of children test scores—for “My child is much more than just a test score”
Yet we will play the game for the time being and attempt to raise test scores and close the achievement gap—because right now that is the game—
But for us, the teachers of New Haven, we will do much more for your child in making he/she the best person in everyway that they possibly can—-
We won’t stop at just the test score—You can count on us to go the extra mile——-Together as a family-all of us can get this done—-Tom
To Tom Burns—While you make some valid points, I believe that change should come from the top down. There is corruption, political favortism and overt nepotism throughout the system which has not been addressed, while many teachers are being mistreated. I love my job and fortunately I have not been subjected to unfair treatment—but I see my colleagues under great stress at the whim of incompetent administrators and it infuriates me. I’m sure you know what I am talking about.
The distribution is fascinating.
Clearly a lot of work needs to be done on defining 1-5 and synching up review criteria among principals. It’s not perfect yet but its a great start in making distinctions in performance and recognition.
For those who are concerned about taking Ciarleglio out of the classroom - in her new role she should be spending a lot of time IN the classroom observing and coaching other teachers. And if she is a good coach, she will actually have more influence over the student experience globally than if she had stayed as an outstanding individual teacher.
But while we’re on the subject of teachers, here are some excerpts from the AFT’S 2011 stated legislative agenda on their website - (followed by my comments in ALL CAPS):
“The overall goal of the AFT Connecticut legislative agenda is to advocate for legislation and a state budget that will protect and improve the rights, safety, and quality of life for all AFT Connecticut members.”
(TOM BURNS: UNBELIEVABLE! THERE’S NO REFERENCE TO CHILDREN!)
- “Working for a fair budget that includes adequate funding for state services, PK-16 education & higher education, collective bargaining agreements and binding arbitration awards and all state funded pensions, and acute care hospital funding.”
(BASICALLY, THE UNION PLANS TO FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL AGAINST ANY PENSION REFORM WHATSOEVER)
- “Preventing any effort to reduce services and jobs by capping taxes or spending at either the state or municipal level. Fighting efforts to privatize state or municipal services, including public education.”
(HOLD ONTO YOUR WALLETS FOLKS!)
- “Stopping efforts to weaken the binding arbitration process for state employees, teachers and municipal employees.”
(FOLKS IT IS KEY FOR CONNECTICUT VOTERS TO RID OURSELVES OF THE BINDING ARBITRATION LAW WHICH COMLETELY UNDERMINES THE INTERESTS OF CHILDREN, PARENTS, AND TAXPAYERS BECAUSE IT DIMINISHES OUR HAND IN BRINGING POSITIVE CHANGES TO PUBLIC EDUCATION)
“Oppose “money follows the child” education funding schemes or any other such proposal that would move dollars away from the neediest public schools to those that do not provide opportunity equally to all students.”
(CODE FOR CHARTER-BASHING)
“Require charter schools to produce student achievement levels that are substantially greater than those at surrounding traditional public schools. “
(HMM, THE CHARTERS WOULD SIGN ONTO THAT ONE IF YOU SIGN ONTO FULL-FUNDING. DEAL?)
You would think that SOMEONE at the school would know teachers. It wasn’t just up to principals to do this job…the APs were in on it, also. Don’t these people know us?
posted by: Tom Burns on January 12, 2011 10:26pm
Fix—-All those initiatives are good for the students- (and adults and families)—you know THE TRICKLE DOWN THEORY—Right?
Why are you OK with not publishing the list? I believe the list does not fall under one of the nine categories that are exempt from FOI. Wouldn’t you want to know if the teacher of your child is substandard? You never have a problem putting the names and photos of bad cops based on one sided articles. Why is this situation any different? Congratulations to the teachers who scored well. Keep it up, we aappreciate it!
TOM BURNS - So after all of your ranting about evil business people having a say in public schools, you yourself defend a bankrupt economic model from the Reagan era!
Until your local stops funding the statewide AFT and stands apart from their underhanded abhorrent political tactics directed at keeping low income minority children from accessing life saving school options, you are no better than they are.
I agree with trainspotter. Even judges send deadlocked juries in to keep trying for an verdict. This amounts to laziness on the part of the principals and that is the last thing we need. To keep the process more fair and try to weed out favoritism we should also require examples of excellence to rate a 5 and examples of problems with suggestions for improvement to rate a 1. There should also be an anonymous rating of all administrators in each school by their employees with room for examples of problems and excellence as well as suggestions for improvement.
posted by: Tom Burns on January 13, 2011 11:37pm
But Fix—you know in your heart that I am—-
As a teacher in New Haven who falls into the category of “support staff/itinerant staff” and has never had a meeting with any principal or administator in the district to be rated, how do I know I’m not a 5. If this is a new evaluation process for teacher, why are teacher already receiving ratings of 5’s when they haven’t gone through the new evaluation process. I feel that teachers should have not received a rating until the end of the year. This whole rating process is a way for principals to target teachers.
March 6, 2000
DISCLOSURE OF TEACHER EVALUATIONS
CGS § 10-151c exempts any records of teacher evaluations kept on file by a local or regional board of education from public disclosure under the state Freedom of Information Act unless the teacher agrees in writing to make the records public. The law covers evaluation records of every certified school employee below the rank of superintendent.
§ 10-151c was enacted in 1984. The legislation was proposed after the Freedom of Information (FOI) Commission issued a preliminary ruling that teacher performance evaluations are public documents, despite the fact that personnel files are in the exempt class. The ruling arose from a complaint by the Journal Inquirer newspaper against the Somers Board of Education for refusing to disclose evaluations.
In the public hearings and floor debate, proponents of HB 5779 (which became § 10-151c) argued that confidentiality was vital to the effectiveness of the teacher evaluation system and that public disclosure would render it useless. They also argued that evaluations were personnel files and that disclosure would invade the teacher’s privacy.
Opponents argued that public employee job performance was a matter for public disclosure, that the public has a right to know how schools operate and teachers perform, and that the proposal undermined the FOI law.
Once again, in New Haven it will be nepotism,favoritism, and the rest of the isms and good Teachers will receive 2’s and the school leadership friends and the kiss ups to the Principals will receive the 5’s. I wish they had a system to evaluate central staff…as a matter of fact with their 100plus salaries they should be required to teach and assigned to a school instead of taking pictures and cutting ribbons!
We (teachers) are all extremely grateful to have 2 wonderful administrators to support us. We know that we have a great staff from top to bottom. We are a close knit group of professionals who support each other each and every day. Mrs. Hershonik & Dr. Robles have come together in a short amount of time to create an extremely positive environment for teachers, parents, and most importantly students!