Portland schools to adopt new evaluation system for principals

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PORTLAND — The School Board will be adopting a new set of principal evaluations, as required by the Maine Department of Education.

The board last week was also presented with findings from a recent study on adult language courses.

The Portland Public Schools Principal Evaluation System, or PEVAL, was recommended for board approval by Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk and district staff. According to Barbara Stoddard, coordinator for talent development for the district, the system for principals has been in the works”for a while now,” and components of it were piloted last spring.

She said Portland based its system on models developed by the Maine Principals Association, and the district will continue piloting it this year.

Stoddard said the model has six domains of building leadership, including professional growth and learning, student growth and achievement, school planning and progress, school culture, professional qualities and instructional leadership, and stakeholder support and engagement.

She said performance will be measured on a scale of one to four, with one being unsatisfactory, two being needs improvement, three proficient and four being excellent.

The new system applies to all principals and assistant principals, and teacher leaders at the teacher-led Reiche Community School. The system won’t require any budget allocations. Funds for professional development are included in the director of school management’s budget.

Board adoption is required by MDOE, and the system must be submitted for approval no later than June 1.

Passed by the Maine Legislature in April 2012, the Educator Effectiveness law requires new performance evaluation and professional growth systems to have been developed and briefly piloted in 2013-2014, piloted in 2014-2015, and be fully implemented in 2015-2016.

The system will go before the board on Jan. 20 for a first reading, and will be voted on at the Feb. 3 meeting. It is scheduled to be submitted to MDOE for approval within 30 days of the board’s vote. If MDOE decides changes are necessary, PEVAL will have to go before the board again for review and re-adoption.

In other business, the board received an audit of the adult English speakers of other languages program in Portland’s Adult Education Program.

According to Caulk, the evaluation cost approximately $25,000 and was funded by the John T. Gorman Foundation. Funds from the foundation went directly to the Center for Applied Linguistics.

According to Bethany Campbell, director of adult education, the report examined what the district is “doing well and what are the things we need to work on and what instructional improvements could we make.”

She said there were “no surprises.”

Campbell said the report contained some recommendations, including increasing intensity of learning, creating consistency or standardized curriculum, providing professional development for teachers, and “continue our community collaborations, which have made our program very strong.”

A fifth recommendation was  for the district to add a language component to teacher evaluation system. Stoddard said that recommendation “is not something we can work on immediately.”

She said implementation of the recommendations will be “ongoing.”

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.