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Teaching During a Pandemic

As head of tech support at SFS, I work with many hundreds of different school districts on teacher and staff evaluation. Before COVID, most districts had their initiatives, directives, and state mandates in place and the ships had direction. Last year’s pandemic rout pretty much shuttered the evaluation processes. As the pandemic restrictions are lifting and school are getting “back to normal”ish, I am finding several clients asking, “What are other districts doing?”.

To be fair, there is no section in the school administration handbook on ‘What to do when coming out of a pandemic”. So it is hard to be critical of any direction that a district chooses. But here is what we have seen so far:

  • Pick up where you left off two years ago, as though nothing happened
  • Use the break in action as a launching point for new evaluation processes
  • Holding harmless by using previous years student data or evaluation scores for current or missed years.
  • Holding harmless by mass assigning a rating of “Proficient” to all staff unless there are extenuating circumstances
  • Reduction in the intensity of the process – ie. fewer observations, fewer goals
  • Lengthening evaluation cycles from 1 to 2 years or 2 to 3 years

What we are NOT seeing is districts doing what they did last year, which was to put much of it on hold. There is definitely the feeling that evaluation processes need to get up and running again. During July and August, prior to students entering the classroom, there was considerable apprehension as to, “how long will this last?” As we end September, there seems to be more confidence in the long term (which is now measured in months, not years).

If your district is still struggling on a direction for evaluation this year, give us a call and we can talk you through it. There is no “one size fits all” and we are happy to come up with a few solutions that might work for you.

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