Need: Supporting effective instruction, educators, and leadership is a primary goal of Missouri’s initiative to be among the top 10 states in education by year 2020 and is a component of its Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver. In response to these goals, Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), in partnership with stakeholders representing principals, district leadership, education organizations, and institutes of higher education developed a model educator evaluation system with the support of the Central Comprehensive Center (C3) at the University of Oklahoma, Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central, and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center).
Support Strategy: Missouri’s evaluation system is designed to allow districts to adopt the state’s model fully or create their own model that aligns with Missouri’s Seven Essential Principles of Effective Evaluation. DESE’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver Renewal was approved in June 2015, and requires the use of student growth measures as a piece of its educator evaluation system beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) provide the means for assessing the impact of a teacher’s classroom instruction on student growth. In April 2014, C3 and GTL Center provided technical assistance and professional development to DESE for 14 hours of SLO professional learning sessions with over 30 participants. DESE’s Office of Educator Quality invited key leadership and educators across the state of Missouri to these professional learning sessions to provide resources, expertise, and guidance to practitioners as they developed quality SLOs that may be used to improve instruction, student learning, and as a possible component of the evaluation of educator effectiveness. In May and June 2015, C3 partnered with Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC) to provide 28 hours of advanced professional learning sessions to 17 participants that included statewide SLO trainers, DESE staff members, and state technical assistance providers.
Outcomes: All (100%) of DESE staff members reported understanding how to define SLO components, how to develop quality assessments, and how to align SLOs with Missouri Learning Standards after recent professional learning sessions. Multiple professional learning sessions for DESE’s statewide trainers and Office of College and Career Readiness (OCCR) will continue in 2015-2016 with the collaborative support of C3 and CTAC. The intermediate outcome from these professional learning sessions for DESE leadership is to build capacity in districts and charter schools to align standards to SLOs in practice, use SLOs in instruction and assessments in the classroom, and measure educator effectiveness and student growth. DESE has scaled-up and implemented the use of SLOs statewide to over 520 districts and 2361 schools, full implementation of the student growth principle is scheduled for Spring 2017. Another aligned project includes DESE, C3, GTL Center, and REL Central working collaboratively on DESE’s refinement of its educator shortage predictor model providing essential data to guide a statewide plan for more effective educator preparation, recruitment, and retention. The goal is that educator professional development and student performance across the state of Missouri will be improved.
“They [C3] have helped us with some of the highest priority things we have on our plate right now: the SLO. They are helping us on the educator preparation side; helping us think about recruitment, retention, shortage areas, so that has been a huge piece of it. The educator evaluations they have been involved in is a huge piece of what we are doing,” said a DESE staff member.
For more information and resources, visit the Central Comprehensive Center website at www.c3ta.org.