Measures of Effective Teaching: Teacher Discussion Transcript
Paul Ronevich: What we've done so far, is you guys worked in groups trying to put this together in order.
Sam Franklin: The Pittsburgh Promise is a scholarship program that ensures that college tuition is not a barrier to higher education for any graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools. And it provides up to $40,000 towards college tuition.
Paul Ronevich: What's our order of events? So I'm going to pull all these events up, we're going to put them on the chart where they go.
Sam Franklin: That becomes the context of which we have to do this important work, re-thinking how teachers experience their careers in a way that is aligned with our goals for students. Teaching is complex. To be able to understand it, we have to be able to look at it through multiple lenses. The three components that we are using are Observation; using Value Added Measures; and, Student Feedback, using the Tripod Student Survey.
Paul Ronevich: Okay, why? Let's base it on some evidence why you think it should go there.
Sam Franklin: Multiple measures do much better than any single one measure could do at capturing a teacher's effectiveness and their strengths and growth areas.
Paul Ronevich: Someone from that group explain your thinking.
Sam Franklin: I've been impressed every step of the way how interested teachers are in leading the work. We bring groups of teachers together, literally, it seems like every day.
Sam Franklin: So we're just here today to have a candid conversation about how we in Pittsburgh are using multiple measures of teacher effectiveness to understand and begin to respond to real differences in the effectiveness of teachers.
Tamara Allen: So far a lot of teachers that I know, and even myself, when you think about just observations, how many times have you had an observation in a year. I think one time; I've been teaching about ten years. But it really didn't truly capture what was happening in the classroom. It didn't help me be better, and it didn't even tell me if I was really bad. So now we have a way of saying, "How can I really help you?"
Paul Ronevich: I've been in a school where I have a very different teaching style than I think than my principal. And I've been a school where I have a similar style. So the feedback I get is very different. But I think with the multiple measures, it makes sure that you're getting it from what your kids are doing with them, and then what your principal is seeing, and the feedback they're giving. Plus you can add evidence, which I think is good, and then what your kids are seeing. So I think we don't see all that if it's just a principle. And I wasn't as interested at that point, too. You just got a box of-- I got the middle box every time.
Tiffany Francis: As far as the Student Perception Surveys, I just think that it offers the students perspective. You know, they're the ones that I'm teaching. You know, those are the students that I'm with every single day, and can-- you know, with an observation, that might just be a snapshot whenever they come in. But my kids are with me every single day. And they, you know, who better to tell you what you're doing well that works for them, than the students?
Tamara Allen: When you look at the multiple measures, I don't have to focus all my energy on one aspect. I'm like, "Okay, that's one aspect, but hey, I need to make sure that my students are performing, and making sure they're succeeding. I also have to make sure that I'm creating that environment that's, you know, respectful and that my kids have a nice response for me, too, so that I'm making sure they're growing.
Jen Ernthausen: I find that what I'm good at, I get-- is more useful in the school now. Like before it was just like, "You're satisfactory or not." And you kind of were in your classroom, but now-- and especially if you have a principal that's savvy, like can say, "You know what? You need to learn more about the parent involvement, but this person knows a lot about that."
Paul Ronevich: Yeah.
Jen Ernthausen: And I find that, I think that as, you know, my school culture, we are supporting each other better, because we know what we're good at.
Tiffany Francis: For me, I was really skeptical about the Tripod last year. I was like, "I do not want to give my kids this Tripod, because if they didn't eat today, they're going to be mad at me, and they're going to just score down, 'Don't Agree,' or whatever."
Tamara Allen: Yes, yes.
Tiffany Francis: When I got my results back, I just really valued their perspective, because they were able to tell me the things that I did well, and the things that I need to work on. So that my practice, if I wouldn't have received that feedback, probably would have stayed the same. You know, I would have thought everything was great. I definitely went in there this year with a new focus, a new lens. And then when I get my results back this year, I'm going to do the same thing.
Sam Franklin: Can you guys talk about what you see as the challenges with those other lenses on our practice and why they're important?
Tamara Allen: My thing is, how much are we helping our children understand the questions? Who reads the questions? Who-- like how we go through this process with Rise, why don't we do the same thing with the kids? I mean, we're really expecting them to be able to interpret. I have kids who can't hardly read.
Jen Ernthausen: Mm hm.
Tamara Allen: So I'm asking them to read this information, and think they're going to make a really sound judgment. I'm not sure. I think that's an area, if we talk about growth, is making sure our kids have some information prior to taking it so we understand the language, what the question is asking.
Jen Ernthausen: Exactly what happened to me the first time around. I am very much, "You need to be an independent learner."
Tamara Allen: Yes! That's my ____________.
Jen Ernthausen: And so they totally killed me. "She does not want us to ask questions!" And I took that and I realized that the way that I was presenting it, made them feel disempowered. So even though I was a little bit like, "Hey, that's so not true," I totally got that the way that I presented it, disempowered them, and so the next year, I said, "You can always ask questions. You just get to ask yourself questions right now." And now, like they totally are-- feel empowered. Like, "I can ask questions, it just might to be the teacher that I'm allowed to ask. I might have to ask my friend."
Paul Ronevich: I think you brought up a really good point where the way we frame it with our kids-- because it's the students' perception. If they perceive that we're not helping them, then we are taking that power away from them.
Tamara Allen: Right.
Paul Ronevich: And I think what Tripod helps me do is to see what they're perceiving, and if I am doing it, but they think I'm not, then clearly, I'm not communicating that well to them.
Tamara Allen: I think about a teacher who has been maybe proficient for most of their career, and now you may come up and find that there's an area that you're not, what happens then? And how do you receive that information? Do you fall to pieces?
Jen Ernthausen: I think with having so many measures, and also on the Rise, having so many different components, it allows you to have things that you're good at. And sometimes that can help you build the confidence. Sometimes, it's hard to let go and try something new. But when you do, and then there's a positive, you know, like it's a positive happening, it's like an aha moment. And then that helps you to have confidence to try something else, then try something else.
Tamara Allen: Absolutely.
Jen Ernthausen: And try something else.
Paul Ronevich: You understand what we're doing here? Is we're kind of figuring out what proportion it would be.
Sam Franklin: Without question, we will never achieve our goals, if we don't figure out how to help teachers grow.
Paul Ronevich: But we need a little more detail when we're looking at the age of the earth.
Sam Franklin: The rewards of sticking with it are great. There's too much at stake for our students. They deserve to be a part of our Country's and our City's future.
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