Friday, October 18, 2013


...oh the acronyms abound these days, don't they?

Our school district is using the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model. Luckily, we are not evaluated on all 41 indicators.  My understanding is that it was never the intent that any teacher would be evaluated on all 41. I'm still new to all of this - so I'm curious what your school district is doing.

I will say, my district has done an AWESOME job helping teachers navigate through this new evaluation process and have really put an emphasis on GROWTH, not "gotcha".  

Here are the 14 indicators that our district is focusing on:

I'll be honest, when I first heard about this model I freaked. I might have even shed a tear or two.  But when it all came out in the wash; I realized what I'm being evaluated on - I already do, it's who I am as a professional.  It's probably who you are too.

What I'm still a little nervous about is the amount of growth expected by my students and how my evaluation is growing increasingly more dependent on that.  I'm sure you've seen the parody essay No Dentist Left Behind.  When I read it, it just makes me go "yup, and that's MY reality".  This is what keeps me up at night. I do the absolute best job that I can do, but there are factors out of my control that impact the growth {and lack of} of my students.  

It seems that kids these days {Did I just say that?  Does that mean I'm officially "old"?} come to us with video game trauma {i.e. teachers don't move as fast as a video game, so students can't focus on what they are saying], over-booked and over-cooked {football, soccer, travel ball, piano lessons...busy five nights a week}, hungry, unloved, angry, or tired. Not to mention that teaching children using the words subitizing, schema, viscous liquids and composing and decomposing numbers is WELL over their heads causing them to tune out....and if they don't show the expected's ALL on me.  

What happened to "it takes a village"?

But I digress...

I've put my faith in God on this one. I work my butt off and I'm always trying to do more and do better. That's all I can do. That's all any of us can do, right?

My to-do list today and every day....I hope it's yours too!
It seems that "data" is the new "developmentally appropriate" {Remember that concept? Yeah, I hardly do either} and we spend a good deal of our time talking about it.  I'm not saying data is all bad.  I just think it can be dangerous.  Dangerous to the point that we might forget that we're actually teaching little, sweet, kind and THINKING human beings.

I hope I never forget.

Anyhoo...what got me pondering this on a Friday night was the form I made for my team to keep track of our PLT's  {formerly known as PLC's}  Here it is if you want it!

Happy weekend friends!


  1. How ironic that I have had the same thing on my mind and blogged about Mr. Marzano tonight as well. It's all very daunting. The thing I worry about the most is all the time to "track data" and "test growth" could be time reading with my children...maybe we can walk this trail together I'll be looking for your insight!
    First Grade @ Storybook Cafe

  2. Holly, we are feeling the same pressure in our district as well! PLC's. SGO's, and we have the Danielson Evaluation Model. Our students' growth is also directly tied to our evaluations. Unfortunately, NONE of the outside factors that you mentioned are considered at all-you're right-it's ALL on us! And developmentally appropriate learning has sadly taken a back seat to test-driven mania. Lots of prayers and hard work ahead as we prepare our littles for the next level!

  3. Holly, Well said! I think this is one of the most stressful years out of my 18 years in the classroom! I can't imagine being a new teacher walking into this. Bottom line- it is out of our hands and in God's. I love your to-do list:)

    The Resourceful Apple

  4. I'm often feeling a little overwhelmed. This constant evaluation, even if informal, sucks the joy out of my teaching. I feel like if I'm doing anything "fun," I'll be judged. But your post--and especially the "To Do" list visual--is EXACTLY what I needed!

  5. LOVING your to-do list ... that's mine today, too ... thanks for sharing! We still have PLC ... no Marzano yet ... C-Scope which isn't called C-Scope anymore ... no Common Core yet ... PST, DOK, RtI, etc ... somebody sure does LOVE those alphabet letters.

    Keep smiling, my friend!

  6. Proverbs 16:3 "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." I lean on this all the time. I also focus on my students, stick to what I know is right and good, and just trust and will all be ok. So far, it is! I will not let anything still my joy and love for teaching. I think we need to keep these conversations happening between us, encourage one another. I struggle when it all turns negative, I love your approach and thought...thanks!!

    1. I need to check things before I hit publish..sorry. It should say...just trust it will all be ok. And will not let anything steal my....

    2. Thank you so much for this lovely comment. Let's work to keep each other grounded and sane!!!

  7. Using Danielson rubric. The things they expect from little tiny children on that rubric are truly impossible. That is why there are no videos or examples of k-2 teachers/students modeling it. We are set up for failure. Teaching for 25 years. I still love the interactions with my students and dreaming up new and better ways to teacher- but I am more stressed out than ever. And, I don't think it is making teachers or students any better or smarter. :(

  8. I completely understand and agree with you, Holly. Does your district do NWEA testing as well? My district (Plymouth-Canton) just started it this year and I haven't been able to get an answer to my questions: "WHY are we doing this? What is the point? Who is benefiting from this?" It's just one more hoop to jump through. I am fortunate to work in a building with a child-centered, understanding principal who KNOWS we are all doing what's best for kids, but I fear that the bubble I live in will one day pop. I'm keeping the faith though and trusting that the pendulum will soon swing the other way. :)

  9. Hi Kelly,
    This will be our second year doing NWEA. I'm waiting for our district to assist us in using the data to drive instruction. I've tried on my own to do this, but there's so much there it's overwhelming. I also question the validity of the data after watching my firsties just randomly click, click, click around and finish the assessment in top speed.

    Hi hum....

  10. I think you just posted what most of us are feeling, except you were able to post it in a rather upbeat manner. My school has already this year had one teacher resign, another one retiring soon and another one that says they are quitting in January. We currently have 2 positions waiting to be filled and we seldom get any subs.
    As for No Child Left Behind, there will always be children left behind until all parents step up and take some responsibility. There are children born to 13 year olds, children born to drug addicts, children born so the parent can get more money from the government. We as teachers can't fix all the problems that kids have, though we do try. Great thoughts!
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  11. Funny ~ Dawn and I were just talking about this on Friday. Especially this year I feel like I just need to do my best and trust. After 29 years you would think it would get easier. Hugs friend- trust you are one AMAZING teacher!

  12. Thank you for the freebie...I needed a form for our PLTs.
    I agree that there is so much more to what we do than a number on a data sheet. It is truly unfortunate what is happening in public education, and our children are the ones paying the price. I believe in teacher accountability (and administrator accountability) but I think there are much better ways to assess a teacher's performance than testing our kiddos to death. I mean c' third graders took almost 10 hours of testing this fall!! When did that become developmentally appropriate?? And testing for kindergartners and first graders....don't even get me started!!!


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