Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Results of Teacher's Evaluation of Me

Last week, I blogged about providing teachers with the opportunity to evaluate me; the results are in! For the most part, I was satisfied with the results. Below are some of the results and my corresponding goals from the surveys.

The information gleaned from the survey is invaluable in my quest to be the best administrator possible.

Lowest Score
Evaluates staff and provides timely feedback.

Big drop from previous year
Evaluates staff and provides timely feedback.

Manages time to be an instructional leader as a priority.

I think these two are closely related. I’m not surprised that Evaluates staff and provides timely feedback was my lowest score; in evaluating myself, it was my lowest score. I’m working hard at improving this and making it a priority during the spring term. Some of my goals:
1.     When completing a short walk through, I will email the link to the observations by the end of the day.
2.     If I see something that lends itself to conversation, I will conduct a conversation within 24 hours. If, for some reason, this doesn’t occur, I will send a second email to offer an explanation.
3.     I will do a better job of projecting into the future to avoid problems. For example, during first term I frequently conducted too many observations on one day, preventing me from having follow-up conversations the next day. I will do a better job of distributing my time more evenly.  Also, if I do a formal observation of Teacher R who has 2nd block planning, I need to make sure that I don’t have anything planned for 2nd block the following day.

Potential roadblocks:
1.     A lot of teachers have 3rd block planning this term. Because of lunch duty and your own lunch schedules, this makes meeting/discussing difficult.
2.     The uncontrollable. Simply put, I don’t know what each day is going to hold. I can plan on meeting with Teacher A on Tuesday and then BAM! a student discipline issue needs immediate attention, preventing me from meeting with Teacher A.

My pledge: I will provide feedback within 24 hours of all observations. If I’m unable to do this, I will explain why within 24 hours.

Keeps teachers informed about the school and its functions. This was one of the lowest scores last year. This year it was one the higher scores.

Most disappointing  
Demonstrates ethical, trustworthy and professional behavior. It didn’t drop much (.15, meaning 3 people gave lower scores this year than last), but I’ve always thought trustworthiness and integrity are the hallmarks of effective leadership. I strive for 4’s (superb rating) in this regard.
To help me achieve 4’s I’ve created an anonymous form where I ask a series of questions:
1.     What are examples of how I demonstrated unethical, untrustworthy or unprofessional behavior?
2.     How can I improve in regards to ethical, trustworthy and professional behaviors?

I also included two questions for any other feedback you would like to provide. 
Of course, this is 100% optional. I’ll keep the form open all year as sorta’ of an online suggestion box.

Various Comments
Students seem to like you. You can still see a lot of the "teacher" in your interactions with them

It is helpful that as a teacher I can express concerns with you in a professional atmosphere. You approach discussions with a calm demeanor and an open mind.

You are always a welcomed presence in my classroom. It is nice to have you drop in because it provides me with an opportunity to show you what I am doing and to know that you are aware of the events in my classroom and of my efforts

I think you approach the position of AP (as I understand it) in an open and fair manner. I respect your knowledge on teaching and trust you to make good decisions on behalf of the staff. Thank you for your efforts.

Makes it easier to work hard, knowing you are working hard to help us succeed. You encourage professionalism by treating teachers with professional respect.

Great job! You lead by example and inspire us to be better teachers. Thank you!

Other responsibilities get in the way sometimes. Not sure how that can be prevented, but I know you do your best.

If you could not tell, I believe that you are a superb administrator. I couldn't read through any of these evaluation questions and not think that you are excellent at meeting each one. I'd love to give you some tips, but I wouldn't know how you could improve. Excellent job sir.

Always open and willing to discuss instructional dilemmas with teachers. Does a very good job listening to teachers and allowing for their input on solutions

Is in and out of classrooms for varying lengths of time and at different parts of the blocks so can build a sense of what instruction in a classroom is like from beginning to end

Superb for all the above. It is a pleasure to work with you! Your vitality and effective communication are a +

Thank you for not being overly involved in teacher's classrooms. Also, you listen to what people have to say and don't interrupt. Lastly, it is good to see that you are not overly emotional and maintain your emotions at a constant state.

Here's a link to the survey which I created as a google form. Feel free to copy and use.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Teacher's Opportunity to Evaluate Admistrators

In this era of high student and teacher expectations and seemingly perpetual change, school leaders must do more than maintain the status quo. Schools, and thus administrators, must learn and evolve if we are to see improved student performance.

Like most of you, administrators and teachers in our school are working through a new teacher evaluation system that focuses on student achievement.  While I believe our school has done a good job of adapting and embracing the new evaluation system, I know my role as an administrator has changed significantly.

As an assistant principal, I strive to build a trusting environment that minimizes teacher stress and reduces their sense of vulnerability. Ideally, creating such an environment will enable our school to tackle educational change.

But, have I created a trusting environment? Have I empowered teachers? Have I communicated effectively and openly? What about incorporating data to guide instruction?

To find out, I’ve asked teachers to complete an evaluation of me (I gave the same survey last year, but I’m curious to see how the results differ).

The principal evaluation survey will:
  1. guide me as I continually seek to improve
  2. assist me in determining whether I'm meeting my goals
  3. spurn discussion 
  4. set the tone for and model reflection  

Here’s a link to the survey. It's a Google form. Feel free to copy and share.

The survey is also shown below.

What questions am I missing?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Friday Five

Somewhere—I don’t know where—along my professional journey, I came across the idea of a Friday Five. Every Friday I randomly call at least five parents and seek their opinions on how our high school is doing and how we can improve our school.

For the most part, parents are very complimentary of our school. They credit our teachers and staff with creating an enriching and caring environment.

Some of their suggestions are beyond my lowly reach (although I’ll gladly share it with my superiors). Suggestions that fit this bill: 1:1 computing, BYOD, course offerings, and school board policies.

The phone calls have enabled the school’s administration to pinpoint and address problems. The most frequent parental complaint—one that mirrors results of our annual parent survey—teachers who don’t communicate routinely and effectively.  Over the last couple of years, we’ve slowly adopted an online course management program. Teacher use of the system is varied, leading to legitimate parent complaints because some teachers post grades online, others don’t. Some post assignments in the course calendar, some don’t. As an administration, we’ve begun to address these discrepancies and other means of improving parent-teacher communication.  Immediately, I email/talk to teachers who parents would like to hear from. 

After getting over the initial shock caused by, “This is Reed Gillespie. I’m an assistant principal at Kettle Run,” every parent has been appreciative of my efforts to reach out and solicit their feedback. The initial call has served as an impetus to future conversations as parents have emailed or called later to both praise and gripe.  

Most importantly, seeking parental feedback sends a message to parents that we value their opinions. It opens our eyes to strategies for improvement and sets the tone for school-parent communication and engagement.