Just recently Minnesota’s Teacher Evaluation Work Group released its preliminary draft of the new statewide teacher evaluation model. (The official first draft is due mid-December.) Needless to say, teacher evaluations are on my mind! I find myself wondering about states and districts that have been bold and thoughtful in supporting and developing teachers. And, which places have worked holistically to develop robust models that genuinely focus on supporting and developing a teacher’s craft? The local example that comes to mind: Minneapolis Public Schools.

MPS began working on its teacher evaluation even before the state passed legislation requiring the evaluations of all teachers. So, kudos for simply being a pioneer. To build a system focused on classroom leaders, MPS incorporated feedback from 900 of its teachers. The new model encompasses three important elements: observations that the district currently uses, as well as two new measures that the district is piloting this school year to put forth a multiple measure approach – value-added reports and student surveys. The multiple measure model will offer teachers a virtual 360-degree view of their practice and connections to aligned professional development.

When it comes to supporting Minnesota’s teachers, now is the time to be bold and thoughtful. After all, teachers are the single most important in-school factor for student success. But when it comes to student learning, our most recent MCA results reaffirm an alarming disparity among Minnesota students: nearly 50 percent of all black and Hispanic students are not reading on grade level. Ensuring that systems and policies create environments where all children can learn and thrive is difficult, which is why it’s important that we recognize those teachers who advance student learning.

Thank you, MPS, for being bold and thoughtful, as well as MPS teachers for getting involved in meaningful change. For more information about MPS’s work, check out this district Web page.

We’ll circle back on Minnesota’s draft teacher evaluation model once the work group releases the full first draft in mid-December. Stay tuned! 


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