charlotte danielson

New York

School leaders share Danielson concerns at union-led trainings

Teachers brainstorm where features of the ideal classroom fit into the Danielson Framework's four domains. Training sessions about a classroom observation model opened up dialogue between teachers and principals this month, even after becoming a flashpoint in the city and teachers union's ongoing conflict over a new evaluation system. The city and union planned to host trainings on the teaching model the city hopes to adopt for its new evaluation system together. But after Mayor Bloomberg ratcheted up rhetoric against the union in the State of the City address, the union cut city officials out of the planning. The sessions began two weeks ago, drawing hundreds of attendees even after the Department of Education emailed principals informing them that the sessions were off. I spent an afternoon last week at a training session at the United Federation of Teachers' Bronx headquarters, where well over 100 union chapter leaders and their principals were receiving a crash-course on the Danielson Framework, a classroom observation model that serves as one component of the city's proposed evaluation system. The city has encouraged principals to practice using the Danielson Framework when conducting informal classroom observations this school year, and 140 schools have been piloting the observation model more formally. As an impasse over new teacher evaluations has deepened between the city and the UFT, a tension has emerged about whether the model is meant first to help teachers improve — the union’s position — or whether it is a tool to help principals usher weak teachers out of the system, as the city’s rhetoric has sometimes suggested. Catalina Fortino, the UFT’s vice president of education, said the purpose of the training sessions is to foster "a shared understanding" of the model for teachers and principals — an understanding that the city’s pilot of the Danielson framework had failed to develop, she said.
New York

P.S. 40 teachers prep for tougher evaluations by simulating them

Chancellor Dennis Walcott with PS 40 teachers during a training session. Teachers at Manhattan's P.S. 40 played students this morning, engaging in role plays, "turn-and-talks," and "sharebacks" to learn about the new way they will be evaluated this year. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott joined the teachers for a training session about Charlotte Danielson's "Framework for Teaching," the teacher evaluation model that principals are supposed to start using this year. Without an agreement between the city and teachers union on new teacher evaluation rules, teachers will still be judged as "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" at the end of the year. But the city has instructed principals to follow Danielson's framework — which divides teachers into four categories, from "highly effective" down to "ineffective" — when they conduct observations throughout the year, in conjunction with the rollout of new "common core" curriculum standards. “We’ve worked out some pieces with the UFT around the evaluation, but right now, my goal is to make sure we're having the training take place around the Common Core,” Walcott said. A group of five P.S. 40 teachers acted out a scripted classroom scene, with one “teacher” pushing her “students” to think critically about a nonfiction reading on Polynesian settlement in Hawaii. Walcott and the rest of the staff watched on and consulted yellow photocopied evaluation rubrics to see if the “teacher” should be judged highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective.
New York

Mulgrew says he wants time before striking full evaluations deal

Today's partial teacher evaluation deal shows that the city and teachers union can reach an understanding on one of the thorniest issues they face right now. That's good, because they have more negotiating to do. Today's agreement applies only to the 33 schools that are set to receive federal funding to help them improve, not to the nearly 1,500 other schools operated by the city Department of Education. The city and union haven't even started discussing how evaluations should be done in those schools, according to UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Federal authorities didn't require any teacher evaluation commitments, but the State Education Department told the city in May it wouldn't forward the city's application for improvement funds without a teacher evaluation plan. At the time, city officials accused the state of trying to "change the ground rules" by using the $65 million in federal funds as a carrot to get them talking about evaluations. But ultimately the worry of missing out on the windfall in a tight budget year propelled the city and union to follow the state's instructions. In the course of hammering out a limited agreement, the city and union established that teachers have the right to a meeting with their principal to discuss the observations. That had been a sticking point in negotiations this spring. "We have all come to an understanding that it is important to have a verbal discussion, especially if it will help them help children," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.