Pennsylvania invests in training school administrators
By Tory N. Parrish
Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 8:34 p.m.
A new state law requires that public school teachers be evaluated based on uniform standards, so the Department of Education is spending about $2 million to use an online system to train and assess administrators who would do so.
Teacher evaluations will be linked to student achievement as the department implements the Teacher Evaluation Effectiveness System. It must be in all Pennsylvania school districts by next school year.
The project began in 2010 when the department received $800,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “help develop statewide policy, tools and processes to evaluate teachers (and principals) in which student achievement is a significant factor affecting performance ratings,” Education Department spokesman Tim Eller wrote in an e-mail.
The agency is buying licenses for the online Framework for Teaching Proficiency System to train 5,330 administrators. It will purchase the licenses from San Francisco-based Teachscape Inc. in phases through a contract ending in 2015.
The state's 29 intermediate units, which are educational service agencies, will train teachers and evaluators who must observe and gather evidence, said Rosanne Javorsky, assistant executive director of teaching and learning at Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
The Teachscape system includes 35 hours of training for evaluators and culminates in a test, said Scott Noon, vice president of business development at Teachscape.
The system trains evaluators to use Princeton, N.J.-based educational consultant Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching, a major component of the state's system. The Danielson framework focuses on planning and preparation; classroom environment; instruction; and professional responsibilities.
The Teachscape licenses are being distributed in phases at no cost to school districts, Eller wrote. So far, 1,100, licenses have been distributed and 450 will be distributed in February.
School districts are not required to use the Teachscape system, since several vendors offer training products.
Administrators in some districts, including Allegheny Valley, Clairton, Cornell, Duquesne and Shaler Area, received Teachscape licenses, the AIU said.
Four Cornell administrators completed Teachscape training in the fall, said Ginny Hunt, director of curriculum and federal programs, who completed the training.
“I think the strength of this program is that it's collaborative,” she said.
Pittsburgh Public Schools began using Teachscape in November 2011, but it bought the licenses on its own — 250 at $299 per user, or $74,760 — using part of a $40 million grant from the Gates Foundation, said Kimberly Basinger, director of professional development in the district.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More women seize opportunities to start businesses
- Under the Hood: A chance to take top cars for a spin
- Lawsuit challenges Hollywood standard of unpaid internships
- Low pay, commutes among top stressors
- Retailers tailor store experience to phones
- Chocolate prices expected to soar as ingredients grow more expensive
- Shale pioneer hires Chesapeake for drilling job
- Investment in Western Pa. startups reaches 5-year high
- Pa. unemployment rate falls to lowest since 2008; 12,000 more enter workforce
- Chrysler’s Easter eggs fun for vehicle owners
- Meat prices drain barbecue budgets