From a list of 70 applicants, the N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) has selected 10 districts for Pilot II of new teacher evaluation system. One of those districts, Collingswood Borough in Camden County, will serve as the lead district in an evaluation consortium with two others--Audubon School District and Merchantville School District. Pilot II will be conducted during the 2012-13 school year.
In addition, the 11 districts that participated in Pilot I, which took place during the 2011-12 school year, have been invited to continue in the pilot project, but the state has not announced which districts will do so. A group of Title I districts is also expected to join Pilot II.
The Pilot II districts are:
- Bordentown Regional (Burlington)
- Collingswood Borough (Camden) will lead a consortium with Audubon School District and Merchantville School District
- Cranford Township (Union)
- Haddonfield Borough (Camden)
- Lenape Valley Regional (Sussex)
- Middlesex County Vocational (Middlesex)
- Piscataway Township (Middlesex)
- Rockaway Township (Morris)
- Teaneck (Bergen)
- Woodbury City (Gloucester)
These districts will split $1 million while the Pilot I districts that join Pilot II will split $200,000 to continue the implementation of their evaluation systems.
NJEA staff will continue to monitor implementation of the new system in all of the pilot districts, including those in the Collingswood consortium. NJEA’s role will be to include training and support in conjunction with local associations and to assure that current provisions of collective bargaining agreements are honored.
The Association has several concerns about the new requirements in Pilot II and has raised them with NJDOE staff. Specifically, NJEA objects to the possible use of independent contractors to conduct observations and the NJDOE’s decision to categorize teachers as core and non-core. NJEA believes that evaluation procedures must be consistently applied to all teachers. Finally, the lack of specificity regarding the required amount of training for administrators and teachers in Pilot II could encourage districts to take short cuts in the amount and quality of training.
During the upcoming school year, the NJDOE will also provide support and guidance--but no funding--to an additional 21 districts that applied for the pilot and earned the minimum score but were not selected. These districts will be invited to participate in the state-level Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee (EPAC) and contribute to an independent evaluation of the pilot.
In preparation for statewide implementation in September 2013, every district across the state will need to complete a series of steps defined by the NJDOE during the 2012-13 school year. Among others, this includes the selection and field testing of a teaching practice evaluation instrument, the training of teachers and evaluators on that instrument, and the development of a local district stakeholder advisory group.
Teachers and local leaders are encouraged to stay abreast of developments in teacher evaluation. NJEA has prepared a list of tips for members and local associations so that the new evaluation system is implemented effectively and so that it will strengthen teacher practice around the state.
Principal Evaluation Pilot will also focus on student outcomes
The NJDOE is also launching a new principal evaluation pilot program this year. Like those for teachers, principal evaluations will focus on the growth and development of all educators within a school and will utilize both measures of effective practice and student outcomes.
The state EPAC will expand to collaborate on both teacher and principal evaluation pilot activities. All participating pilot districts – whether piloting teacher or principal evaluations, or both – will also convene district-level advisory committees.
The 14 districts that will share $400,000 in Year 1 of the principal evaluation pilot program are:
- Alexandria (Hunterdon)
- Bergenfield (Bergen)
- Edison (Middlesex)
- Elizabeth (Union)
- Lawrence Township (Mercer)
- Monmouth County Vocational
- Morris (Morris)
- Newark (Essex)
- North Brunswick (Middlesex)
- Paterson (Passaic)
- Pemberton (Burlington)
- Rockaway (Morris)
- Spotswood (Middlesex)
- Stafford (Ocean)
Additional details on and FAQs about the state’s proposed evaluation system can be found at http://nj.gov/education/EE4NJ/.