Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

April 11, 2014

Most area teachers rated as effective

Debbie Blank and Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — The Indiana Department of Education released educator effectiveness data (please see box) for the 2012-13 school year April 7, the first time such data has been gathered in Hoosier history. “The data show that over 87 percent of public school educators (teachers and administrators combined) were rated as either effective or highly effective, while only 3 percent were rated as either needs improvement or ineffective. The remaining 10 percent did not receive a final evaluation due to circumstances such as resignation or retirement,” according to a news release.

Glenda Ritz, state superintendent of public instruction, said, “I am encouraged by these numbers. For the most part, they confirm what we already knew: that public schools throughout Indiana are filled with effective and highly effective teachers. Research shows that highly effective educators are exactly the type of leaders that can turn schools around and increase school performance.”

She noted, “Thirty-two percent of teachers in A schools are rated as highly effective, in comparison to just 11 percent in schools that received an F. Highly effective educators are vital to school turnaround and my department will be working to address this gap moving forward.”

Dr. Jeff Hendrix, Sunman-Dearborn Community School Corp. superintendent, said, “We have a lot of great teachers who work in our school system. They are very diligent and want to do what’s good for kids, and that’s shown by the statistics. Our teachers took the evaluation process very seriously. They worked hard to meet the domains, areas within their evaluations, and to perform to the highest level.”

He added, “I hope they take this as a wake-up call that our schools do perform well, and teachers are good at what they do. We do believe in accountability in public education .... (and) we’re not afraid to have our data out there for people to review. No school district is perfect. Not everyone is going to have highly effective and effective teachers, but we’re doing what we can to improve.”

When asked to comment on the ratings, superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts said, “The Batesville Community School Corp. is blessed to have outstanding educators who are dedicated to student success. The data demonstrates that our administrators believe our teachers to be effective in producing student learning and our actual student achievement information confirms that belief. Annually, our performance data places us at or near the top of all schools in the state.”

“I caution readers in attempting to make too many judgments with the information that has been made public. It is difficult to compare the data from school to school or from corporation to corporation due to the lack of a standardized process for evaluations. Unlike when our students in grades 3-8 take the ISTEP+, the same standardized test used throughout all school buildings in Indiana, teachers are evaluated by thousands of different administrators who are using many different evaluation instruments.”

Roberts reported evaluations will be a topic at the next Indiana State Board of Education meeting. “As our state officials review the data, I would ask for patience with the evaluation process as we are all learning how to do it better. The school year of 2012-13 was the first one for us with implementing a system that was very different for both teachers and administrators.”

Now that the educator effectiveness system is in place, Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said the organization “calls on policymakers to refocus their collective attention on providing resources ... designed to help children learn.” The BCSC superintendent said he supports “any legislation that provides additional resources to teachers, classrooms and student programs. Specifically, I would support additional opportunities to provide paid professional development for our staff members. The structure of teacher contracts in Indiana leaves very little time for professional development as almost all of our staff members’ paid time is spent with students.”

The SDCSC leader agreed, noting policymakers “should be providing resources to teachers. I would hope that the legislators continue to look at public education and see it is working. They should continue to fund our programs fully and provide resources to make teachers better and help students reach higher levels of achievement.”

Batesville and Sunman-Dearborn corporation results School Highly Effective Improvement Ineffective Not School Effective Necessary Applicable* Grade Batesville High 4 41 1 0 0 A Batesville Middle 21 16 0 0 0 A Batesville Intermediate 19 13 0 0 0 A Batesville Primary 19 20 0 0 0 A East Central High 35 33 3 0 0 A Sunman-Dearborn Middle 19 15 2 1 0 C Sunman-Dearborn Intermediate 18 10 2 2 1 B Bright Elementary 12 15 1 0 0 A North Dearborn Elementary 19 19 1 0 0 A Sunman Elementary 17 12 1 0 0 A * Educator either resigned or retired -