Lakeside Union School District Adds New Teacher Evaluations

The Lakeside Union School District has launched a pilot program for its annual staff evaluations that’s already getting attention from outside the state.

For the first time, the district is using a 36-page evaluation template for its teachers. That’s 35 pages longer than the old one.

The old model, a non-comprehensive satisfactory versus unsatisfactory evaluation, didn't hold teachers accountable, according to Superintendent David Lorden.

It also didn't give them the tools to get better, he adds.

“Our new rating system goes from not meeting standard, to developing, to proficient, to distinguished,” he explained. “If you're not moving along that continuum towards distinguished, this will call it out."

After some initial apprehension, educators like Cathy Zimjewski said they’re excited because it's a growth model - meaning there's room to take risks and improve.

As the local teachers union president - she helped implement the process.

“Nobody just wants to say ‘Oh you’re a bad teacher get out of here,’ she said. “That does nobody any good.”

Under the old system, principals would make one visit to a classroom in a one shot, so-called “gotcha” moment. Now it's a year-long process supported by online professional development.

Accountability is critical and parents expect it said Lorden.

Matt Thompson, the Principal at Lakeside Farms agrees.

“But just like we expect our teachers and all educators to do for our own students, is to differentiate instruction for every single child to give them what they need, we are now able to do that for our teachers," Thompson said.

Next week administrators from the district will travel to Salt Lake City to present their model at a national conference.

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