The Times West Virginian

May 30, 2013

Principals will learn new teacher evaluation

Associated Press

CHARLESTON — Public school principals across West Virginia will soon learn how to use the state’s new teacher evaluation system.

The West Virginia Center for Professional Development is offering principal training sessions around the state on the new system this summer. The sessions begin in June and continue through August.

Dixie Billheimer, the center’s chief executive officer, told the Charleston Daily Mail that the new system gives principals a way to stay involved in the classroom.

“We always talk about the principals being the instructional leaders in the school,” she said. “I think this is a way for them to actually do that.”

The system began as a pilot two years ago with 25 schools and was expanded to 136 schools in 2012. It will be implemented in all schools this fall.

The system emphasizes conversations between teachers and principals. Some weight also is given to data and students’ standardized test scores.

“All the collective conversations that the system calls for, I’m sure there were folks who were doing that and doing it well before,” said Pam Gould, principal at Watts Elementary, which was among the schools where the system was implemented in 2012. “But this is explicit in that it’s about that — it forces collaboration.”

Gould said the conversations were “work and time well spent.”

“It really is focused on students and learning, so every conversation that we had was useful,” she said.

Papadopoulos said the training for principals emphasizes helping them understand that teachers, like students, also need positive feedback.

“There are some great outcomes that come from the process,” she said. “But what we hope comes from it is really improvement to teachers and therefore to students.”

Under the new system, all teachers will be evaluated annually.