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Tell Us: How Should Teachers Be Evaluated in Holmdel?

Should parental input be included as part of the overall teacher evaluation process?

Holmdel Township is looking to strengthen its teacher evaluation standards and clearly outline its methods.

The township recently chose the Danielson's Framework for Teaching, a rubric used during in-class teacher evaluations, which makes up 40 to 50 percent of the overall score.

A combination of state mandated standards and conditions negotiated by the teacher's union make up teacher evaluation methods around the state.

The formula, according to Assistant Superintendent Mary Beth Currie in a, coule leave around 10 percent wiggle room in the overall evaluation, to be customized by the district.

Board member Joseph Hammer suggested in a January meeting that the extra 10 percent could be carried by parent input.

"The Danielsen rubric only had secondary parental measurement (tracking of correspondence, emails, etc.) included in its rubric, I suggested that parent evaluations be included as a separate measurement," Hammer said in the comments section of a related Patch article. "Since children cannot evaluate teachers effectively and evaluators just by being in the classroom change the classroom environment, parents can fill a valuable role providing good feedback to teachers and administrators."

The Danielsen rubric adopted by the board evaluates the amount and effectiveness of teacher and parent communication. Currie said any customized evaluation methods would have to be negotiated within teacher contracts and meet state standards.

Patch is wondering: As a parent, what kinds of things do you look for in teachers? How would you like to be a part of the evaluation process?

Dina D'Ambrosi January 25, 2013 at 01:14 PM
Yes, parent input can provide valuable insight on how well a teacher is performing and while it should only be a small part of the overall evaluation, it should be considered.
Marie January 25, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Definitely, the parents should be a part of the evaluation of teachers. I can name teachers in Holmdel who are very ineffective (and still are teaching because of their tenure) and teachers who are highly and well-versed of their subjects especially in the high school. I have four children and one graduated in 2009 and three are still in the district.
Barbara Beyun January 25, 2013 at 02:36 PM
I agree with the previous 2 comments. If a teacher gets poor reviews from parents year after year, that should certainly be a factor in evaluating his/her performance.
* January 25, 2013 at 03:19 PM
The parents are paying the bills so they should have some input. But the discouraging part is that regardless of what kind of feedback and evaluations they receive, nothing bad ever happens to these ineffective teachers and nothing good ever happens to the excellent teachers.
D. Hamwi January 25, 2013 at 03:22 PM
I am all for it! Our kids tell us the inside scoop of what's really happening in the classroom. They know if the teacher is organized, prepared for the lesson, rude or nice and mostly if they LOVE being a teacher. I think it's very important. Thank you Joe Hammer for bringing it up at the BOE meeting. Now let's follow thru parents!
Jeff Gollin January 25, 2013 at 03:58 PM
I worry about an overemphasis on numbers, charts and indices and believe that anecdotal narrative input from parents be part of the process. Teaching is more than just squeezing out good test scores from each student. Think back on which teachers you feel most/least influenced you - I'm guessing each of us will mostly recall very human experiences and relationships and not a whole lot about "metrics."
common sense January 25, 2013 at 05:01 PM
My children have all graduated from the school system, yet I still pay large taxes that mostly go to this system. I have no complaints about the taxes, I just want to know how my input gets consideration.
DPage January 25, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Parent/Student input should be very specific regarding only things a parent or student would know... Does the teacher give immediate feedback (return tests in timely manner, explain grading and why answers are wrong, give corrections?) Is the teacher accessible and responsive to parents and students concerns (returns emails? Communicates expectations etc?) Does the teacher consistently follow up with expectations. It shouldn't just be a free for all. Some of the teachers that I or my parents "liked" the least turned out to be some of the best teachers I ever had. The parent/student input should be very specific and not just "do you like the teacher?"
Jennifer January 25, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Jennifer January 25, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Well, i use trip advisor reviews to check out hotels, and I think that while " free-form" reviews may not be helpful individually - one of my sons best teaches ever was often described as a " mean old lady who doesn't like boys" - in aggregate, they can tell a story the numbers don't. Like - which teacher routinely screams at the class, so much so that kids often get stomach aches before school? Which teacher won't let parents in the classroom at all? Which teacher works on her quilting at the back of the room? Which teacher is a little too touchy feely with the girls ? Which teacher seems to have a mood disorder that causes her to shreik and sometimes throw things unexpectedly? Who are the kids afraid of? Who do they love because " we did nothing all year except play on our laptops" ? Well, those are a few bits of feedback I would have given with my experiences, and if there was an accumulation of such comments on he same teacher, it should at least be checked out.
SAC January 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Actually, no, Jennifer. However, when 6000 engineers worked at Lucent Bell Labs in Holmdel and a fair number of them with children also lived in town, our school system was a whole lot better than it is today. The last vestiges of this population have children in the high school. Looking forward to seeing what the school system looks like in 5 to 10 years.
Jennifer January 26, 2013 at 01:02 AM
Maybe I should have added an emoticons, as in engineer;). I certainly meant no offense. Some of the bell lans people moved to middletown; about half. Some still have very small children. However, i do take your point. The doubling of the population in the town in the last 20 years brought in a population with a more consumerist view of the school system. The engineer families I know, ethnicity notwithstanding, expect their kids to place studies before extra curriculars, and if the grades start to slip, they double down. That is what we do at home. We know that if something is hard to understand, it requires more effort from the student. I have heard a lot of complaining that the school " caters to the elite student" and that " the average kid gets lost". I think the average kid may need to step off the field and crack a book , and then let's talk.
Jennifer January 26, 2013 at 01:05 AM
What kind of input would you want to have regarding teacher evaluations? I understand that you are involved as a taxpayer, and I am not being snide. I just wonder in this context what you mean?
Deannie January 26, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Speaking as a parent, grandparent and retired teacher ( taught for 29 1/2), I always believed and still do, having cameras in the classroom would put an end to all heresay and solve lots of problems.
Jennifer January 26, 2013 at 02:31 AM
That is a really good idea.
Leah March 10, 2013 at 06:02 PM
I couldn't agree more, Deannie. I am also a parent and teacher. Cameras in the classroom would not only give parents peace of mind, it would also provide teachers with incontrovertible evidence of what they report to parents. "My child would never...." would be a thing of the past.


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