The Pinellas County School District has unveiled the first draft of a new teacher evaluation system that is likely to put much more emphasis on student performance.
Under a draft scoring system, student performance would make up 51 percent of the evaluation, "observable data" (like how well a teacher uses assessments to figure out where a student is falling short) would make up 39 percent and peer review would make up 10 percent.
It's still early in the review process, so it's not clear how student performance will be defined or measured, or who the peer reviewers will be, or whether the percentages in the draft will remain intact.
The draft "might be totally different next week," said Marshall Ogletree, executive director of the Pinellas teachers union.
What is clear, though, is there will be lots of debate about all of it. The district recently showed the draft to principals, who are weighing in. The union will wade in this week. The School Board is tentatively scheduled to discuss it at a workshop on May 20.
The change is mandated in part by existing laws and in part by a belief, among many, that most districts' current evaluation systems are too flawed. New teacher evaluations are a key part of a $100 million Gates Foundation grant to change the teaching profession in Hillsborough, and they were central in the debate over Senate Bill 6, the controversial legislation that Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed April 15.
Ogletree said the union's goal is for a new evaluation system to be a model that can be given a trial run in some schools next year before it is rolled out districtwide.
"There's been discussion of having a two-tier evaluation system next year," he said. It would be better, he said, if "we see how it works (as a model) and build buy-in."