SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 23, 2013

Most North Shore teachers get solid marks on evaluations

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — Most teachers and administrators evaluated on the North Shore last year, under a new system, got solid marks, according to reports released by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

It is the first time such teacher ratings have been made public.

The results varied significantly from town to town. About 99 percent of the 159 Danvers educators who were evaluated last year were rated “proficient,” the third-highest level of performance under the four-level system. None were deemed “exemplary.” In Salem, by contrast, 72.5 percent scored “proficient” and less than 1 percent were deemed “exemplary.”

Only school systems that accepted government Race to the Top funding were required to participate in the new evaluation program.

Not all teachers were evaluated. Half of Danvers educators were evaluated last year, and less than a third of Salem’s. Superintendent Stephen Russell said Salem did not evaluate more teachers under the new system because it got a late start on the process.

“We had to reach agreement with our teachers’ union prior to proceeding with the new evaluation system,” said Russell, something that occurred in February. “As a result we got a late start using the new evaluation system.”

Russell said “our figures are not as high as we would like them to be,” but that was due, in part, to an effort to focus on the evaluations of the district’s newest teachers, given the time limitations.

The district has extended the evaluation cycle to this school year “to make sure we did it well.”

“The positive news is the work we have done is solid and a good first step as we move forward with this new system,” Russell said.

This evaluation system is designed to provide teachers and administrators with more feedback to help improve performance, which in turn will help students in the classroom.

Statewide, more than 85 percent of the educators evaluated were rated “proficient,” according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. About 7.4 percent of educators statewide were rated “exemplary,” 6.8 percent got a rating of “needs improvement,” and less than 1 percent were rated as “unsatisfactory.”

“I think it’s a good system,” Russell said. “It’s been a lot of work putting it in place and implementing it.” He said anecdotal feedback from Salem teachers was they got to see more administrators in their classrooms, which allowed them the opportunity to share ideas.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

HOW EDUCATORS WERE RATED District No. of educators No. evaluated % exemplary % proficient % needs improvement % unsatisfactory Beverly 362 170 7.1 87.1 5.3 0.6 Danvers 316 159 0 99.4 0.6 0 Hamilton-Wenham Regional 198 99 0 98 2 0 Marblehead 308 265 3 94.3 2.6 0 North Shore Tech 73 35 2.9 97.1 0 0 Peabody 502 441 6.8 92.1 1.1 0 Salem 568 160 0.6 72.5 26.3 0.6 Salem Academy Charter 46 23 17.4 56.5 26.1 0 Swampscott 218 86 0 95.3 2.3 2.3 Source: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education