Executive Summary

Dana Siegel

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I have more than 30 
years of
classroom experience. The 
last four of 
those years 
have 
been
 spent
 at
 Sycamore 
Elementary School in Collierville, Tennessee. Sycamore has been selected as one of twenty model ESL programs by the US Department of Education. While at Sycamore, I was selected as
 Teacher
 of
 the
 Year.  In addition to my teaching duties, I serve as an 
elected 
member
 of the Tennessee 
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TNTESOL) Board of 
Directors.
 
I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education from St. Mary's Dominican College in New Orleans, Louisiana. While living and teaching in Los Angeles, CA, I earned a: master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, an English as a Second Language Credential, a  Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Credential and completed doctoral course work in the area of Early Literacy Acquisition with a focus on intervention.
 

Why did you become involved in teacher evaluation reform efforts in your district/state?

The main reason is that as an ESL teacher, I thought there was a need for me to represent my colleagues in the reform efforts.  I wanted to be an out of the box contributor for the non-tested subjects.  Presently, all teachers use standardized test scores as part of their evaluation.  These scores do not reflect my area of content. In my opinion, it is better to be part of the process rather than complain about the process later on.

How would you improve the process of teacher engagement in the reform efforts?

Slow it down. In a perfect world, I would make this year a learning year.  The learning year would allow everyone to reflect, grow and learn. For example, in the learning year we wouldn’t make human capital decisions based on this year’s data.   

What advice would you give other districts/states as they consider teacher evaluation reform efforts?

  • Do not to run to create an artificial time frame for implementing reform. Effective reform requires time, expertise and a recognition that the process will need to be refined over time. 
  • Realize that you are asking people to shift their focus from how teachers teaching to students learning.  It takes time to internalize this paradigm shift in terms of planning, teaching and evaluation instruciton.

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