Tuesday, January 20, 2004
More than a dozen Steamboat Springs School District teachers are participating in a new test of the district's evaluation-based pay system.
The pilot, which began Monday, marks the second time the district has asked teachers to help test the Knowledge and Skills-Based Pay plan. A similar pilot using seven district teachers ended in October and resulted in considerable changes.
Teachers approved the concept of the KSBP plan in 2002. The plan would change the way teachers are paid from a system that rewards longevity to one that allows teachers to move more quickly up the pay scale by demonstrating specific knowledge and skills.
Though the pay scale has been approved, the guidelines for evaluating and measuring teacher performance are being developed. The pilot programs -- which are voluntary -- are part of that process.
The School Board has said its goal is to have the KSBP system approved by December. Teachers and the board have to approve the final plan.
Classroom observations and a detailed portfolio to be compiled by each teacher will be used in the evaluation system.
The fall pilot focused on gathering teacher feedback on the clarity of the instructions and guidelines for creating a portfolio, said Content Standards Director and KSBP development committee member Kelly Stanford.
This time around, the pilot will test the validity of the system. The district wants to make sure that what it asks teachers to accomplish in the portfolios and in the classroom observations can be measured objectively and used to judge performance on specific standards, Stanford said.
The 16 teachers who volunteered for the pilot will attend five classroom sessions with members of the KSBP development committee and will be observed while teaching a class on two separate occasions by either the teacher's principal, assistant principal, Stanford or Superintendent Donna Howell.
Each participant also will turn in a completed portfolio by April 12.
The portfolios won't be scored. "We will, however, give the participants feedback in terms of strengths and weaknesses in the portfolios they give us," Stanford said.
Teachers who so desire can earn up to two hours of graduate school credit through Adams State College by participating in the pilot.
The KSBP development committee is asking participating teachers to meet in small groups to support each other during the process.
Teacher participation is essential to the KSBP development process and appreciated, Stanford said. "For them to be willing to give up their time to help the system is something we're very grateful for."
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