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MDE developing statewide teacher evaluation system

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Education is developing a system for evaluating its educators that could be ready to be used during the 2014-15 school year.

It would be used to help identify training needs of individual teachers, said Daphne Buckley, deputy state superintendent for quality professionals and special schools.

Buckley tells the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal there is not currently a statewide evaluation system. She said individual districts have their own methods.

The new model will assess five areas — planning, assessment, instruction, learning environment and professional responsibility.

“We want to see the strong teachers so we can draw from their strengths, and we want to see if teachers have challenges so we can address those challenges in order to improve their practice,” Buckley said.

She said the program would use both classroom observations and student growth from one year to the next. The method for measuring that growth has not yet been determined.

Evaluations likely will rank teachers in a range of performance measures from unsatisfactory to emerging to effective to distinguished. Its results would be used to provide a better grasp of teacher’s strengths and weaknesses, Buckley said.

It will be up to the school district to provide targeted training to help teachers become effective.

The MDE has been working on this model for nearly two years.

“We want to make sure it is clear, comprehensive, fair and equitable,” Buckley said.

Buckley said there is a pilot program being conduction at various schools in Jackson and Columbus and in Simpson, Wayne, Jones, Calhoun and George counties.

Under the No Child Left Behind law, the federal education department now requires districts to have highly qualified teachers, a mark that is measured by teachers being certified for the subjects in which they teach.

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