The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.
A principal gives thumbs-up to Danielson framework
As principals, one of our many duties is to build teacher practice as well as evaluate it.
The Charlotte Danielson Framework, a method now used by districts across the country and that has been piloted in CPS, provides a venue for both of those duties to be fulfilled simultaneously. As a principal and evaluator of teacher practice for the past eight years within CPS, I have had the privilege of utilizing several methods of teacher evaluation, with a focus on improving teacher practice. I must say that Danielson, although intricate and requiring a big time commitment, does indeed focus on improving practice through evaluation.
The domains--Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instruction, and Professional Responsibilities--cover the vast array of components needed to ensure quality teaching and learning. A teacher’s knowledge of instructional content, his/her ability to manage behavior and deliver instruction as well as participate as a professional with colleagues and community is addressed.
Teachers and administrators meet together to discuss teacher practice and set goals for improvement along with plans of actions that stimulate motivation on the part of the teacher and support on the part of the administrator. The principal creates a safe environment for the teacher that is consistent and confidential therefore building trust, this is important as most teachers view evaluation as punitive.
Collaboratively, work is done to improve and build teacher practice where needed. The administrator shows his/her commitment to learning by working with the teacher while the teacher builds his/her practice.
The administrator makes sure that the BIG ideas are understood so that teachers fully understand the vision, goal, and work required to be successful.
Does Danielson improve all teacher practice? Of course not, as no method does. However, in cases where teacher practice does not improve, the administrator along with the teacher is able to see clear concise evidence of plans made and support given to assist the teacher before other measures are taken.
The Danielson method is, in my opinion, a valuable tool to use for teacher evaluation. It has the potential to "build" teachers as well as help those who may need possible "career change" to see their way clearly to do so.
Ultimately, this will improve the lives and the education of our students.
Principal Lauren Norwood
Doolittle Elementary, CPS