Executive Summary

Differentiate by Audience

Understand Your Audience

As important as it is to have overarching talking points, it will also be important for states to differentiate their messages to meet the needs of different audiences. Teachers, for example, need to know details of what the new evaluation system will look like, what they will be evaluated on, how much time it will take and what they can expect from the feedback and professional development opportunities that follow.

Of all of the audiences, teachers are the primary one to keep deeply engaged and informed; the more they are kept up to date, the better. One Delaware reading specialist noted that this wasn’t the case in her state.

Of all of the audiences, teachers are the primary one to keep deeply engaged and informed; the more they are kept up to date, the better. One Delaware reading specialist noted that this wasn’t the case in her state.
 

Legislators, on the other hand, do not need the in-the-weeds details, but do need to understand how the new evaluation system will differ from the existing one, and what the development and implementation will ultimately cost. Will Pinkston encourages states to take the time to brief key legislators multiple times throughout the process, starting with an “Evaluation 101” meeting to provide them with basic information. They should be briefed in advance of big forums, and those that are most supportive may also be willing to give opening remarks at events in their voting district.

The general public also requires basic, timely and clear information. States should aim to be transparent about the development process by publishing information on their website, issuing press releases when key decisions are made and providing districts with material they can distribute to parents to build understanding about the highlights of the new system.

States can get their message out in a variety of ways, but should not underestimate the sheer power of face-to-face interaction, including public forums and small group meetings. These give the public a chance to hear from others and an opportunity to be heard. To accommodate those who choose not to speak up but still want to be heard, states should also establish an email address that is closely monitored by a key staff member not only after large events but at all times.

Big states can be hampered by geography, but by distributing the responsibility among district leaders, ground can be quickly covered. Knox County Superintendent Jim McIntyre, for example led four town hall meetings in his district. Denver, CO, actually hired a full-time teacher to visit with faculty in schools across the district to discuss a new evaluation system responsive to state law. This peer-to-peer interaction proved enormously effective and meaningful to the educators who were reached in teachers’ lounges and staff meetings: More than 90 percent voted to participate in a district-wide pilot the following year.

Target Audiences

  • Teachers
  • School administrators
  • Superintendents
  • Elected officials
  • Union representatives and leaders
  • Parents

The Federal Government and Teacher Evaluation

E-news sign-up

 
JOIN OUR MOVEMENT TO BRING INDIVIDUAL TEACHERS INTO THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING NEW REFORMS.