Executive Summary

Jamie Woodson

Jamie has been a leading figure in spearheading Tennessee’s education reform efforts. Prior to leading SCORE, Woodson served for over twelve years in the Tennessee General Assembly in both the House and Senate and held leadership positions that included Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and Senate Speaker Pro Tempore. She currently chairs Tennessee’s First to the Top Advisory Council, a panel of national and state education experts that provides strategic guidance on implementation of the state’s landmark Race to the Top reform.

What are the key things that Tennessee did well in designing the teacher evaluation system?

  • The teacher evaluation reform conversation was essentially a non-partisan dialogue among all stakeholders that focused on the following improving student outcomes, helping educators improve their professional skills, and developing thoughtful strategies for the purpose of moving forward with fidelity of implementation.
  • The original policy successes were driven by a broad cross-section of stakeholders.
  • Leadership in Tennessee has been committed to a system that will result in dramatically improved student achievement.

What are some of the lessons learned?

  • The conversation during the statutory creation period should be broadened to include not only the process for teacher evaluation reform, but also the linkage to professional and student learning benefits.
  • For non-profit leaders focused on building collaborative relationships during the design process, it is just as important, for those collaborative relationships to continue during the implementation stage to ensure successful outcomes.
  • A clear connection between evaluations and professional development and differentiated learning is key to providing teachers with the support they need.
  • Feedback loops must be planned for, and seeking the “educator voice” is critical in ensuring a smooth transition from policy development to effective implementation. 

What will be your major 2012 activities around teacher evaluation reform?

  • One of SCORE’s strategic priorities is to identify implementation needs and gaps and activate an effective response.  SCORE is playing a unique role in supporting the implementation of the teacher evaluation system.
  • In December 2011, Governor Bill Haslam asked SCORE to lead an independent feedback process on the evaluation system.  Starting in January 2012, SCORE will solicit feedback from educators, administrators, and community members through a variety of sources, including facilitated discussions and online feedback options.  The goal will be to identify challenges, highlight and share best practices, and report back on our findings.
  • Information gained from the feedback loop will be reported back to the State Board of Education and State Department of Education in June with the intent of refining and improving the evaluation process.
  • Finally, the new evaluation is a significant change for teachers and administrators, and communication through the process is important.  SCORE will play a role in educating partners and policymakers on the details of the evaluation and how it fits in with the other aspects of Tennessee’s reform work.

What are some of the remaining big questions in Tennessee?

  • Great professional development is key to improving the quality of instruction, and there is work to do to provide high-quality, differentiated support that is directly connected to an educator’s evaluation.
  • Work continues to fully develop growth measures for non-tested grades and subjects

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