Each year, DCPS teachers are observed and evaluated on a rubric by administration and outside observers from the DCPS central office, called Master Educators. Master Educators, similar to the administration, provide feedback regarding a teacher's performance in the classroom. The new system will remove Master Educators from the evaluation process and only administrators from within each school will perform observations.
As a former DCPS teacher, I understand the controversy surrounding this topic. Many teachers are not happy with the current evaluation system. Some feel it is more of a "got ya" approach instead of a supportive, growth-centered approach. However, I personally found the Master Educators knowledgeable in their field and truly invested in teacher success in the classroom. Some of my best mentors during my time as a DCPS teacher were Master Educators whom I met when they observed my classroom. It is unfortunate they will no longer be able to provide a subjective perspective on teacher performance.
Another big transformation is the implementation of a new teacher training program, in which teachers are grouped by subject and coached by a specialist in their subject area. These teams will meet once a week and will be observed by their coaches for feedback regarding implementation of instructional strategies. Constructive feedback is crucial in the teaching profession. Having a coach who works alongside you, especially when implementing rigorous standards like the Common Core curriculum, is essential to teacher success in the classroom. However, there are some with concerns about implementing the program. At my school, I was the only teacher who taught my subject area. While this training program is a step in the right direction, it will be interesting to see how teachers of specialized subject areas will be included in this process.
D. C. Public Schools, their successes and their challenges, have been in the spotlight for many years. Hopefully these changes to the teacher evaluation and training programs will provide much needed support for teachers so they are able to meet the variety of needs of their students. For more information, see the link below to the Washington Post article.