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Wednesday Churn: Teachers weigh in

What’s churning:

A group of younger teachers is the latest to comment on how the state’s educator effectiveness law should be implemented.

The Denver New Millennium Initiative, a group of 21 metro-area teachers who’ve been studying Senate Bill 10-191 in specific and teacher evaluation in general, today released a report containing recommendations on how the law should be put into effect.

The report makes suggestions in the areas of measuring student growth, qualifications for evaluators, accounting for school conditions and student factors and designing evaluation for both employment and professional growth.

Among the more interesting recommendations are those related to evaluators. The report urges using classroom teachers as peer evaluations, rotating them between teaching and evaluation duties, and requiring intensive training of evaluators, assessments of evaluator observation skills and ongoing support of evaluators.

Several of the report’s recommendations parallel those of the State Council for Educator Effectiveness, which released its detailed report in April (see story and links to report documents).

“The Denver team members are incredibly pleased with the direction of the key priorities identified by the SCEE, along with the summary of recommendations for teacher evaluation. Indeed, the priorities and suggestions closely parallel the recommendations made in the Denver NMI team’s report,” said Barnett Berry, president and CEO of the Center for Teaching Quality, the North Carolina organization that sponsors the New Millennium Initiative in Denver and other parts of the country.

The report was compiled by 21 teachers who work in 11 metro-area districts. Members of the group have three to eight years of teaching experience each.

Also, the Colorado Legacy Foundation on Tuesday released its Colorado Blueprint for Bullying Prevention.

The report, which grew out of a statewide Bullying Prevention Summit in April, concluded that while educators do appear committed to addressing bullying – 98 percent of teachers say it’s their job to intervene if they witness a child being bullied – most say they need more training in effective strategies.

The areas of greatest need:

  • cyberbullying
  • sexting
  • bullying related to sexual orientation, gender and disability

The report also identified some best practices in bullying prevention, including efforts at creating a respectful school climate, training all staff in bullying awareness and prevention, increasing adult supervision in hot spots where bullying occurs, and immediate, consistent intervention.

Among the ideas districts have tried to reduce bullying – comprehensive internet safety training and a district-wide gay-straight alliance summit in Cherry Creek; ongoing training for staff in Pueblo; and recruiting community members to help monitor anti-bullying efforts in Mesa County.

The Legacy Foundation is currently accepting applications for grants to fund new programs to enhance bullying prevention efforts.

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