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The 2012-2013 school year brought with it a number of changes on how educators conduct business in their schools.  With Common Core, PARCC (or Smarter Balanced), Growth Model, A-F grading, and other initiatives on everyone’s plate, along comes RISE which truly has changed the educational environment.

For those of us who have been around education for three or four decades, it was easy to see that this was a game changer.  Teacher evaluations have always been a mysterious, yet required, part of the educational system.  Building administrators who were responsible for annual (or bi-annual, or longer) evaluations, with few exceptions, had never received any serious, well-designed professional development on how teacher evaluations should be conducted, what instrument was ideal for such an evaluation, and how to deal with that small percentage of teachers who were bad at what they did.  RISE has changed that.

For the first time, principals and assistant principals are expected to conduct multiple and extensive evaluations of their teachers every year, and these evaluations are tied directly to a teacher’s salary and whether they remain in the classroom or not. Teachers are scared and administrators are overwhelmed.  The time necessary to conduct RISE as expected is an incredible “burden” for administrators. Educational service centers have spent a great deal of time providing training to administrators, and although the training was adequate, most still left unanswered the questions of how can this process be done efficiently and effectively and how is this information stored and shared with the teachers?

For Rensselaer Central Schools Corporation, the answer has been Standard for Success.  This software has greatly streamlined the process for the building administrators and made it easy for teachers to stay current with their most recent observation.  Standard for Success (SfS) provides daily reminders of what needs to be done, what meetings need to take place, and who has responded to recent entries.  For the administrators, SfS has provided them with an ideal, user-friendly system to conduct observations, complete evaluations, and schedule teacher meetings to not only meet the requirements of RISE, but for the first time, have meaningful discussions with teachers about what’s going well in their classrooms and what areas could be made better. RISE brings with it a lot of time-consuming requirements, but SfS has provided our administrators an easy-to-use, professional instrument which has met and exceeded our expectations.


Blogger:  Mr. Gary Bates, Assistant Superintendent/Director of Instruction, Rensselaer Central School Corporation

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