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Richmond County teachers use evaluation program to key in on progress

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Kimberly Wills, a sixth-grade math teacher at Murphey Middle School, says a new teacher evaluation model is doing what its name implies: helping her key in on the areas she should focus on when teaching students.

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Kimberly Wills, a math teacher at Murphey Middle School, said she likes receiving input several times during the school year.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Kimberly Wills, a math teacher at Murphey Middle School, said she likes receiving input several times during the school year.

Topic: Richmond County Schools
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"It communicates clearly what's expected of you," she said about the new method, CLASS Keys, that was piloted this school year at Murphey.

CLASS stands for Classroom Analysis of State Standards, and it focuses on five "keys" to teacher quality: curriculum and planning, standards-based instruction, assessment of student learning, professionalism and student achievement.

Starting next school year, the piloted appraisal process, which recently received school board approval, will be implemented at 27 Richmond County schools.

Wills thinks of the new assessment as a teachers' version of the Georgia Performance Standards, a set of learning expectations for students started five years ago.

"It's a very complete evaluation system," Virginia Bradshaw, the executive director of middle schools, said about CLASS Keys, noting that schools that don't implement the process next year will do so the year after that.

Wills said the tool for teachers is better than the old model because it gives input on areas for improvement several times throughout the year. The old method had one appraisal at the end of the school year.

Teachers are gauged in certain areas for the purpose of improvement and accountability. Their skills are rated not evident, emerging, proficient or exemplary.

For example, an area teachers might be judged on whether he or she "makes decisions about planning that demonstrate understanding of content knowledge, pedagogy, and the implementation of the required curriculum or Georgia Performance Standards," according to a state report on the process.

Other areas of focus in the appraisal include whether the teacher: plans interdisciplinary instruction and makes connections to the real world; consistently uses research-based practices in the classroom; uses accessible technology effectively to enhance learning; effectively communicates learning expectations; and provides effective feedback or commentary on student performance.

Wills said she's noticed a difference in the last area. She said that rather than writing "good job" on a student's paper, the new standard calls for teachers to provide detailed information about why it was good.

"Are you providing effective commentary, or are you just writing 'good job'? " she said of what's expected. "What does 'good job' mean?"

Wills said teachers have been taking classes this school year on the new process, and she said she believes many teachers will ultimately embrace the appraisal format.

"At first, with every change there comes bumps in the road," she said, "but I do believe as people give it a chance they'll see this is actually what they want."

CLASS keys

The following schools will implement the CLASS Keys performance appraisal process for the 2010-11 school year:


- Bayvale

- Glenn Hills

- Goshen

- Jamestown

- Lake Forest Hills

- Merry

- Monte Sano

- Reynolds

- Rollins

- Terrace Manor

- C.T. Walker

- Windsor Spring

- Wilkinson Gardens


- Glenn Hills

- Hephzibah

- Hornsby K-8

- Langford

- Morgan Road

- Murphey

- Pine Hill

- Sego

- Spirit Creek

- Tutt


- Cross Creek

- Hephzibah

- T.W. Josey

- Westside

Source: Richmond County School System

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scoobynews 05/24/10 - 09:58 am
I would love to know were

I would love to know were teachers will have the time to write detailed comments on every students work will come from. 120 plus kids means 120 plus comments. Reading and evaluating the work (showing errors/corrections) could take up to about 5 minutes per student then additional time for comments up to 2 mins that make a grand total of 7 minutes. Now let's say we have 120 students times the 7 minutes of grading/evaluating plus comments and we have 840 minutes. That is 14 hours worth of extra time. This is just one assignment. Sounds good but the reality of it is that no one has an extra 14 hours a day in order to write detailed quality comments. BTW we are not talking about 14 hours overtime either there is not such thing in a salaried profession.

mable8 05/24/10 - 10:30 am
I was led to believe that

I was led to believe that people who went to college/university to become a teacher were taught HOW they should do this; apparently, I was misled As for the "good job" comment on a young student's paper, kids aren't going to read the dissertation about why the paper was a "good job;" all the child wants to know is if it was good enough to get a passing grade. Too, some parents are going to take that teacher to task if they disagree with any (or all) of the commentary noted. If teachers would return to the BASICS OF EDUCATION, the children will more than likely learn something.

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