District of Columbus Public Schools: Defining Instructional Expectations and Aligning Accountability and Support
When Michelle Rhee took the helm of DC Public Schools in 2007 the district’s achievement was dismal. NAEP scores for DC’s students were among the lowest in the nation, and achievement gaps between white and black students were among the largest in the country. Rhee and her team knew that something had to change dramatically. This latest case study by the Aspen Institute describes how Rhee and her team sought instructional excellence in every DC classroom, by first defining the principles of effective teaching and then creating a system of evaluation and pay centered squarely on it.
Aspen breaks down Rhee’s overhaul of teacher personnel policy into three segments: introduction of the Teaching and Learning Framework (TLF) emphasizing planning, teaching, and effectiveness of teachers; the creation of IMPACT, a new accountability system to ensure that the criteria set forth in TLF were carried through; and finally implementation of the evaluation system in the 2010-2011 school year.
Out of this process came five lessons from which schools districts across the country can learn, among them: creating common expectations about what effective teaching consists of, the need to anticipate that the hardest part of creating a teacher performance system is helping teachers improve their skills, and that continued development of organizational capacity is crucial to success. While this story is unique to DC, states around the country should be forewarned about the challenges of overhauling entrenched teacher evaluation systems. As Ohio moves forward it would do well do keep the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from DC in mind.
Columbia Public Schools:
Defining Instructional Expectations and Aligning Accountability and Support
The Aspen Institute
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