Executive Summary

Doreen Palucci

Tell us about yourself.

In addition to testing elementary school students at Warner Elementary, I serve as a member of the Delaware Vision 2015 work group. Vision 2015 is a state-wide initiative aimed at improving education through the implementation of six major reform areas. I’m also a member of the Rodel Foundation's Teacher Network Leadership Institute where I have written about the importance of data-driven instruction. Last year was also selected by the teachers in my district to serve as the 2011 representative to the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly. I am also a Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow.

I think states and districts should pilot new assessments and test new evaluations before fully implementing them. We need time to train teachers in understanding how the tests work and how to best use them to improve their teaching.
 
Doreen Palucci

Do you feel the process of teacher engagement in Delaware’s reform effort has been effective or ineffective?

Our state asked for teacher volunteers from many schools across the state and a lot of teachers have had the opportunity to get involved. Principals were sent letters to send to their staff and they sent multiple letters asking for volunteers. We had to fill out an application and then the district had to approve it. It was a short and thoughtful application, not like a applying for a job. When they tried to engage teachers the first time around, the process didn’t work as well. This time, the state hired a consulting company, which gave the work groups more structure with goals setting, time lines, and a mission statement. We also had a few facilitators helping with the work groups.

What do administrators and policymakers need to do to help teachers feel more optimistic about the new evaluation system?

I think states and districts should pilot new assessments and test new evaluations before fully implementing them. We need time to train teachers in understanding how the tests work and how to best use them to improve their teaching.

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

I would say they there’s still a fear factor among teachers. There are many other reforms happening across Delaware and some teachers are working in turnaround schools or partnership schools zones. These teachers want to focus on having success in the their classroom rather than risk losing their job by devoting time to helping the Department of Education. It would help if teachers could see that the new evaluation system was more focused on recruitment and retention of good teachers rather than firing. That would change the fear factor that is prevalent right now and maybe foster more teacher involvement.

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