Superintendent's Memo #136-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

May 13, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Revised Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers and Virginia Standards for the Professional Practice of Teachers

On April 28, 2011, the Board of Education approved the revised documents, Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers and the Virginia Standards for the Professional Practice of Teachers.  The guidelines and standards will become effective on July 1, 2012; however, school boards and divisions are authorized to implement them prior to July 1, 2012.

The Board of Education’s action was based on recommendations from a Work Group on Teacher Evaluation established by the Virginia Department of Education.  The Work Group included teachers, principals, superintendents,  human resources representatives, a higher education representative, and representatives from professional organizations (Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Education Association, Virginia School Boards Association and the Virginia Parent Teacher Association), expert consultants  (Dr. James Stronge, Heritage Professor of Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership, The College of William and Mary; and Dr. Terry Dozier, Associate Professor, Teaching and Learning, and Director, Center for Teacher Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University), and Department of Education personnel. The Department of Education is planning to establish a second work group in fall 2011 to review performance standards and evaluation criteria for principals.  The guidelines for uniform performance standards and evaluation criteria for principals and superintendents that were approved on January 6, 2000, will continue to be effective until revisions are presented and approved by the Board of Education.

The Board of Education is required to establish performance standards and evaluation criteria for
teachers, principals, and superintendents to serve as guidelines for school divisions to use in
implementing educator evaluation systems. The Code of Virginia requires (1) that teacher evaluations be consistent with the performance objectives (standards) included in the Board of Education’s Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, Administrators, and Superintendents and (2) that school boards shall develop procedures in evaluating instructional personnel that address student academic progress.

The Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers set forth seven performance standards for all Virginia teachers.  Pursuant to state law, teacher
evaluations must be consistent with the following performance standards (objectives) approved by the Board:

Performance Standard 1: Professional Knowledge
The teacher demonstrates an understanding of the curriculum, subject content, and the developmental needs of students by providing relevant learning experiences.

Performance Standard 2: Instructional Planning
The teacher plans using the Virginia Standards of Learning, the school’s curriculum, effective strategies, resources, and data to meet the needs of all students.

Performance Standard 3: Instructional Delivery
The teacher effectively engages students in learning by using a variety of instructional strategies in order to meet individual learning needs.

Performance Standard 4: Assessment of and for Student Learning
The teacher systematically gathers, analyzes, and uses all relevant data to measure student academic progress, guide instructional content and delivery methods, and provide timely feedback to both students and parents throughout the school year.

Performance Standard 5: Learning Environment
The teacher uses resources, routines, and procedures to provide a respectful, positive, safe, student-centered environment that is conducive to learning.

Performance Standard 6: Professionalism
The teacher maintains a commitment to professional ethics, communicates effectively, and takes responsibility for and participates in professional growth that results in enhanced student learning.

Performance Standard 7: Student Academic Progress
The work of the teacher results in acceptable, measurable, and appropriate student academic progress.

The Code of Virginia requires that school boards’ procedures for evaluating teachers and principals address student academic progress; how this requirement is met is the responsibility of local school boards. Though the recommended teacher evaluation model is not mandated, the Board’s Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers recommend that each teacher receive a summative evaluation rating, and that the rating be determined by weighting the first six standards equally at 10 percent each, and that the seventh standard, student academic progress, account for 40 percent of the summative evaluation. The document provides guidance for incorporating multiple measures of student academic progress into teacher performance evaluations.

The Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers provide school divisions with a model evaluation system, including sample forms and templates that may be implemented “as is” or used to refine existing local teacher evaluation systems. Properly implemented, the evaluation system provides school divisions with the information needed to support systems of differentiated compensations or performance-based pay.

The Virginia Standards for the Professional Practice of Teachers define what teachers should know and be able to do, and they establish a foundation upon which all aspects of teacher development from teacher education to induction and ongoing professional development can be aligned. The revised Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers incorporate these teaching standards.  The document serves as a resource for school divisions in the implementation of the Board of Education’s performance standards and evaluation criteria for teachers and for colleges and universities in teacher preparation.

The revised documents are available on a new page on the Department of Education Web site and can be accessed at http://doe.virginia.gov/teaching/performance_evaluation/.  The reference document, The Research Base for the Uniform Performance Standards for Teachers, also will be posted on this site. This site will be used to post training and support materials for the new evaluation model as they are developed.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Dr. James W. Lanham, director of teacher licensure and school leadership, via e-mail at James.Lanham@doe.virginia.gov or telephone at (804) 371-2471.

PIW/psp

c:   School Division Human Resources and Licensure Contacts
     Virginia College and University Deans and Directors of Education