PASCO COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT STILL LOOKING FOR BRAVE TEACHERS

Dancing on an Electric Rug with a Gun to Your Head
or
The Unabridged 2015-16 Pasco County Schools Teacher Evaluation MOU

Here is the utterly asinine, unnecessarily complicated, purpose-built to be scientific-sounding, horse manure-language laden, Pasco County Schools 2015-16 Teacher Evaluation MOU in its entirety. If your district has one that’s worse than this, I’d love to see it.

Special Bonus!

An amazing thing happened yesterday. I was answering emails, and had informed a few folks who email me on a regular basis of this rather mundane post, and one of them sent me a a version that ended with a “note” that had somehow been left on an email version of this very document when a principal emailed it to a schools’s entire faculty. I’ve added it to the end of the document published here, just as it appears in the photo sent to me.

What’s important here is the very existence of the “note” at the end of the email sent by some idiot at District to principals, and the sheer stupidity of the principal who shared it with an entire faculty. It doesn’t exactly make the district look like a nice place to teach for people who value stable employment. That’s because it isn’t. Just imagine being a teacher on an annual contract in Pasco County Schools. Not a comfortable way to work.

Please take the time to read the whole document. You cannot begin to fully appreciate just how bad this monstrosity is unless you really make an attempt to digest the whole thing.

I understand that this subject matter may not yield the most riveting post in the history of blogging, but, even in all its monotony, it’s a very necessary piece. Please bear with me.

2015-16 Teacher Evaluation

Observations:

  • All teachers will receive at least 1 Formal/Announced Observation in the first semester.
  • Follows the formal observation cycle: pre-conference (at teacher’s request-not required), observation, post-conference.
  • Observation must be conducted within a one-week window from notification.
  • Observation is the length of a lesson-not to exceed 50 minutes
  • All teachers will receive at least one Informal/Unannounced Observation in the Second semester
  • The teacher does have a one-time option of requesting the administrator to conduct the Informal/Unannounced observation at another time unless there is a scheduling conflict.
  • Observation is the lesson-not to exceed 50 minutes
  • All observation data, including Administrator Feedback needs to be entered into my PGS no later then [sic] ten work days from the observation.
  • Domain 2-4 Observations will receive a mid year rating

Scoring for Domain 1 Observations:

  • Each Domain 1 observation will be scored separately using the metric below and then averaged together to make up the overall Domain 1 score.
  • Highly Effective (4): Meets all requirements for Effective and at least 15% of scorable elements in the Domain 1 observation at Level 4 (Innovating).
  • Effective (3): At least 60% of scorable elements at Level 3 (Applying) or higher
  • Developing/Needs Improvement (2): Less than 60% of scorable elements at Level 3
  • (Applying) or higher and less than 50% of scorable elements at Levels 0 and/or 1 (Not Using/or Beginning)
  • Unsatisfactory (1): At least 50% of scorable elements at Levels 0 and/or 1 (Not Using and/or Beginning)

Scoring for Domains 2 and 4:

  • Highly Effective (4): At least 65% of scorable elements at Level 3 (Applying) or higher and no scorable elements at Levels 0 and/or 1 (Not Using and/or Beginning)
  • Effective (3): At least 60% of scorable elements at Level 3 (Applying) or higher
  • Developing/Needs Improvement (2): Less than 60% of scorable elements at Level 3 (Applying) or higher and less than 50% of scorable elements at Levels 0 and/or 1 (Not Using and/or Beginning)
  • Unsatisfactory (1): At least 50% of scorable elements at Levels 0 and/or 1 (Not Using and/or Beginning)

Scoring for Domain 3 (Deliberate Practice):

This year, domain 3 will be scored and included as a 15% additive to the Status Score (Domains 1, 2, & 4). There will be an additional element added to Domain 3 that scores the level at which the teacher attains his/her goal on the targeted element in their [sic] Deliberate Practice Plan using the metric below:

  • Highly Effective (4): When a teacher improves three (3) levels on his/her targeted element, or when a teacher improves from “Applying” to “Innovating” on his/her targeted element.
  • Effective (3): When a teacher improves two (2) levels on his/her targeted element.
  • Developing/Needs Improvement (2): When a teacher improves one (1) level on his/her targeted element.
  • Unsatisfactory (1): When a teacher does not improves [sic] on his/her targeted element.

(End Page 1)

All elements in Domain will be given a score from 0 (Not Using)-4 (Innovating). All elements, including the new element, will be averaged together to come up with the overall Domain 3 Score

The overall Domain 3 score will be multiplied by 15% and this amount will be added to the Status Score (Domains 1, 2, & 4 observations)

Status Score:

The status score is calculated by multiplying the overall Domain 1 score by 60%, overall Domain 2 score by 30%, and overall Domain 4 score by 10% and then adding all three scores together.

Instructional Practice Score:

The Instructional Practice Score will be the Status Score (see above) plus the Domain 3 15% additive.

The Instructional Practice Score will make up 65% of the teacher’s Summative Evaluation
Summative Evaluation Score:

The Final Summative Evaluation Score will be made up of:

  • Instructional Practice score multiplied by 65%
  • Student Performance Measure multiplied by 35%
  • The two scores above are added together to makeup the Final Summative Evaluation Score

Final Scores between 3.5-4.0 will represent “Highly Effective,” final scores between 2.5-3.4 will represent “Effective,” final scores between 1.5-2.4 will represent “Developing/Needs Improvement,” and final scores less than 1.5 will represent “Unsatisfactory”

Exclusions:

Teachers working less the [sic] half the year plus one day (99 days), either due to late hire or approved leave(s), will receive one informal/unannounced observation solely for the purpose of providing exposure to the observation system and formative feedback.

Timelines:

  • Deliberate Practice Plans should be completed no later then [sic] Friday, September 11, 2015.
  • At least one Formal/Announced Observation must be completed in myPGS prior to January 14, 2016 (end of first semester).
  • At least one Informal/Unannounced Observation must be completed in myPGS from January -April 29, 2016.
  • All Domain 1 Observations must be finalized in myPGS on or before April 29, 2016.
  • Domains 2-4 Observations will receive a mid-year rating in myPGS no later then [sic] the first week of the second semester (week of January 19-22). This is a progress-monitoring tool only.
  • All observations (including Domains 2-4) must be completed in myPGS no later than May 18, 2016.

*Note: The observations you perform during first semester are a good reminder to assess your staff’s performance early in the year-allowing us to make efforts to retain excellent teachers and to coach and document those who are not meeting expectations. If you observe a teacher who is not meeting expectations, the Office for Employee Relations can assist with addressing those concerns. Please also make sure that you know who your annual contract teachers are (see seniority report) and if they are not meeting expectations. We will be sharing information at the October Principals meeting.

An Assessment of the MOU

First, whoever wrote this bona fide masterpiece of occupational terror probably needs to sit in on an English class occasionally if she/he plans to continue writing final copies of evaluation protocols for a school district whose superintendent brags about being so cutting edge.

I hate to be picky, and I’ll readily admit that I am not the best writer on Earth, but it would seem to me that a document describing the protocol used to evaluate teachers, and itself the product of an organizational enterprise dedicated to its evaluative prerogative over the very livelihoods of professionals, would be error-free. (Boy is it difficult to not curse like a sailor here.)

A school district run by none other than the Great Bubba himself, self-proclaimed arbiter of what constitutes “accountability,” ought to have the wherewithal to find someone somewhere in its vast repository of omnipotence who can produce a grammatically correct, coherently structured passage. The 2015-16 Teacher Evaluation is neither.

Now, the District may claim that the MOU was authored by the USEP, but even if that is the case, it is still up to the District to make the necessary corrections before publishing it on its website. Keep in mind that we are talking about an evaluative instrument for teachers. If a teacher made the kind of utterly inexcusable mistakes that are so well represented in the MOU, there would be some serious evaluative consequences.

Of course, that brings us to the single most pervasive problem in education right now: Most policymakers are brazen hypocrites. It’s a real problem at all levels. I guess that’s for another post.

A Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Evaluation of the Evaluation MOU

The most glaring error in the MOU is the use of the word then in place of the word than in three instances. “No later then” is wrong. It should be “no later than.” In a fourth instance, “then” was actually misspelled as “the.” Even as a typo, “Teachers working less the(n) half the year…” should be “Teachers working less than half the year…”

Dear Bubba, a quick tutorial addressing the very different parts of speech, meanings and usages of the words “than” and “then” can be found at the Grammarist. Please share it with your brilliant staff.

The MOU arbitrarily dispenses with the use of periods at the ends of some sentences. Some sentences have them, and some sentences don’t. If I’m missing some sort of redeeming pattern here, please inform me. What’s worse is that the MOU actually has periods at the ends of some sentence fragments. (Gratuitous use of foul language deleted here.)

The use of a hyphen to indicate the word and” is used several times in the document. A hyphen means “to” or “through,” but not “and.” For example, in the Summative Evaluation Score section (fourth bullet), the MOU says, “Final Scores between 3.5- 4.0…” That is incorrect. The English language has a nifty little letter that used to actually be a member of our alphabet for that very purpose. It’s called the ampersand. It should either be, Final scores between 3.5 & 4.0″ or 3.5 and 4.0.” If the authors of the MOU didn’t want to use the ampersand or the word “and,” they should have rephrased the wording to accommodate the use of a hyphen in its place, like, “Final Scores of 3.5-4.0…” Just sayin’. Idiots; yes; idiots. See how that works? It’s called GRAMMAR.

The sudden use of the word “when” to describe the “metric” for Domain 3 (Deliberate Practice) shows that whoever wrote the piece of garbage that is presently referred to as the 2015-16 Teacher Evaluation obviously has no working knowledge of maintaining structural coherence throughout a passage. Read it for yourself and tell me I’m wrong.

In one passage (Scoring for Domain 3 (Deliberate Practice, bottom of page one, second bullet) the author of the blah blah blah document uses the word “their” to refer back to the antecedent the teacher. A possessive pronoun must match its antecedent. DUH. It should be her” or his,” or maybe even just that teacher’s,” but not “their.” 

The point here is that the Pasco county School District is an educational organization, and the MOU is the instrument that outlines how teachers are to be evaluated, based in part on how well their students perform on tests that measure their mastery of subjects like grammar. Can the district at least produce a document that isn’t itself full of grammatical errors? What a crock.

Obviously ol’ Bubba has once again entrusted the legitimacy of his enterprise to a bunch of morons and hacks. How can we possibly take an evaluation protocol seriously when it is utterly sophomoric in its own constitution? Should we not expect that those who presume to judge us, and to hold immense power over our lives, are able to write an elementary level communique? (Seriously vulgar diatribe deleted right here.)

Mr. Browning is swollen to capacity with audacity. He has begun to make ol’ Scarf Lady look like a teacher-lover. His half-cocked cadre of morons and opportunists is really beginning to make him look like the daggum amateur that he is.

Maybe he should evaluate himself.

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