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State Teacher Evaluations To Cost Darien Time And Money

Darien Superintendent Stephen Falcone discusses how new teacher evaluations will take up a lot more time and force the schools to hire a consultant.
Darien Superintendent Stephen Falcone discusses how new teacher evaluations will take up a lot more time and force the schools to hire a consultant. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

DARIEN, Conn. -- New state mandated teacher evaluations are expected to significantly increase the amount of time Darien school administrators devote to evaluating teachers. Darien is also considering spending $80,000 to help transition to the new system.

"The reality is that this is a big project," said Superintendent Stephen Falcone at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting. "It don't know how it's going to all work out."

Under the new guidelines, which were passed this year, school administrators will spend roughly twice as much time evaluating teachers as they currently do. They will also have to spend additional time creating goals with teachers, evaluating data and sending information to the state.

Under Darien's current teacher evaluation plan, the 100 teaches in their first four years are observed in the classroom three times a year and meet with administrators to discuss their performance. Of the remaining 380 teachers, about two-thirds of them are on professional growth plans, where they have a couple observations a year and come up with specific goals. The rest of the teachers are observed once a year.

The new system requires that all teachers are observed three times a year. These observations account for 40 percent of their overall evaluations. Student growth and development accounts for 45 percent of the evaluation, including both performance on standardized tests and teachers' assessment of student work. The rest of the teacher evaluations are made up of whole school performance and peer or parent feedback. At the end of it all, each teacher is given a grade of one through four, which is sent to the state.

Transitioning to the new system is going to take a lot of man-hours, Falcone said. Of the $80,000 proposed in the new budget, about $10,000 is for software to manage all the new data that schools will have to be looking at. The rest is for some kind of consultant to help with the transition and possibly find ways to streamline the process.

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