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Thread: Response to Dawn Davies Town Crier letter (7/24/2008)

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I agree with Elizabeth--we shouldn't be striving for 35%, we should be striving for 100%. High quality instruction is certainly the top goal of both the School Committee and the Administration.

    There are of course numerous factors that make the 100% goal a challenge, ranging from available funds (to be sure, Wayland has thus far been able to spend more than most) to hiring imprecision to the nature of teacher contracts (much of which is governed by state law and the surrounding market) to one student's inspiration being another's impediment.
    Hiring is a critical activity in any organization seeking to attain high performance; this is especially true in an environment where tenure and unions and perhaps state laws make corrections difficult. How does Wayland's process for hiring teachers assess a prospect's potential to broadly inspire students?

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    One must be willing to go through whatever procedures are necessary [to fire mediocre teachers]. The damage done by retaining mediocre or poor teachers is incalculable.
    I completely agree. Based on the current teacher contracts in place in Massachusetts, however, administration options in this regard are extraordinarily limited both today and in the foreseeable future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    The short-term solution to this [intimidation resulting from teachers bringing union representation to evaluation meetings] is to maintain courage in the face of intimidation.
    Our administrators are certainly not intimidated by such meetings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    The longer-term solution is to dramatically increase teacher compensation and benefits while simultaneously raising the qualifications required to attain and retain the position.
    Our teachers are already at the high end of the compensation spectrum in Massachusetts. While I would love it for society to elect to pay teachers even more, the reality is that we're constantly on a fine line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    We should aim for 100% [of teachers being inspiring]. If from the perspective of individual students only half of their teachers truly connected, that would be a ~5X increase from where we stand today.
    I have no idea what percentage of our current teachers are inspiring, but in my opinion, the number is far higher than the 10% you cite.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    Hiring is a critical activity in any organization seeking to attain high performance; this is especially true in an environment where tenure and unions and perhaps state laws make corrections difficult. How does Wayland's process for hiring teachers assess a prospect's potential to broadly inspire students?
    I don't know, but it's a great question, and on to which I'll get and post an answer.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I have no idea what percentage of our current teachers are inspiring, but in my opinion, the number is far higher than the 10% you cite.
    How does Wayland's process for hiring teachers assess a prospect's potential to broadly inspire students?

    Does Wayland publish aggregate performance review ratings for its teachers, e.g. X% rated excellent, Y% rated good, Z% rated competent, etc?

    Dave

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    How does Wayland's process for hiring teachers assess a prospect's potential to broadly inspire students?
    While we don't have any sort of test that we apply to attempt to measure "inspiration-ness," a qualitative judgment of this quality is part of our process that also includes assessing credentials, checking references, interviewing as a group, observing instruction, and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    Does Wayland publish aggregate performance review ratings for its teachers, e.g. X% rated excellent, Y% rated good, Z% rated competent, etc?
    We do not publish this sort of aggregate performance, nor to my knowledge do we have plans to do so. While I can see some value in making this information public, were we to do so, we would be creating an unintended incentive to alter performance reviews for their appearance, which goes against their primary use to help our educators improve.

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