Birdville T-TESS Refinement Team
Save the Date
Friday, Jan. 8th 2016 at 9-11am
1451 South Cherry Lane
White Settlement, TX
Feedback from December Meeting
After analyzing data from goal-setting and observation forms, the following concepts emerged as high areas of need for teacher support:
- Student-Centered Strategies and Structures
- Higher-Order Questioning
- Formative Assessment
We have some exciting opportunities for professional learning ahead (see below), but will also be working to develop other, more targeted learning in these areas.
We will require electronic signatures on the end-of-year conference form, but not on any other forms.
Who wants to be COOL?
The first challenge focuses on getting an overview of the purpose and function of the community as well as a discussion about their professional goals. The second challenge will focus on the Professional Practices and Responsibilities Domain of T-TESS so that teachers will have a solid understanding of their role in their own goal-setting and professional learning.
Upcoming challenges will be based upon supporting their learning in the areas of the Learning Platform that represent their specific goals and T-TESS rubrics.
Participation in these groups is optional, but they will be the primary source of T-TESS professional learning support for the time being. As we embrace the culture of T-TESS, it is more important than ever to transform professional learning as well. Our COOL groups will help us begin that process by creating a space for the teachers to own their learning, collaborate, dive deeper into rubrics, and build a community beyond the school walls.
Stay tuned for your invitation to get COOL!
Notes from TEA
Any conference about an individual’s practice, which is personal and is something in which educators take pride, can be a difficult topic of conversation. The relationship that exists between appraiser and appraisee will go a long way in lowering the appraisee’s anxiety about conferences (and with each conference that occurs, the relationship should generally strengthen). Additionally, the culture of appraisal will shape an appraisee’s perspective on conferences. Those districts and campuses that have sold the message of development - that it’s okay to be where you are as an educator, but it’s not okay to stay there – will be able to build beneficial conference environments relatively quickly.
Appraisers have their own concerns as they approach conferences. How does an appraiser hold a constructive conference when the appraiser doesn’t know as much about the subject-specific content as the teacher? What happens when the appraisee has little to add to the conversation because the appraisee simply isn’t reflective?
A T-TESS conference is more about diagnosis than anything. Appraisal in general is primarily about diagnosis – what’s working, what’s not working, and what do we want to improve moving forward. The professional development comes after and in response to accurate diagnosis. My job as an appraiser is not to tell a calculus teacher how best to teach a lesson on mathematical optimization, but instead to provide evidence back to the teacher on how students responded to the practices the teacher deployed during the observed lesson.
As an instructional leader, the appraiser should have insight into pedagogy so that he or she can help determine why the students didn’t respond favorably to an aspect of the lesson (and the rubric helps guide that insight). And an appraiser, if they feel comfortable enough with pedagogy, can suggest a few pedagogical strategies to try out that could improve a practice (again, the rubric helps guide those suggestions). The real development, however, comes after the conference when the teacher focuses on a particular practice for refinement. Beyond being diagnostic, the conference is an opportunity to promote self-assessment on the part of the educator. The appraiser isn’t present frequently enough to be the sole source of formative feedback. The appraisee has to develop habits of reflection and accurate self-assessment to truly move into the accomplished and distinguished levels. No teacher or principal gets it right all the time, but those who have the ability to self-diagnose and adjust their practices when no one else is watching will be the most successful. In that sense, conferencing is about coaching – instilling habits, much like developing muscle memory.
ESSA...What does it mean for T-TESS?
The following message was sent to ESCs today from Ryan Franklin, Associate Commissioner for Educator Leadership and Quality. Please review this information in regards to the relationship between the newly authorized Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the new Texas T-TESS/T-PESS systems. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available:
As most already know, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10th. With its passage, I’d like to again clarify that this bill does not impact the agency’s plan for implementing the new teacher and principal appraisal systems in any way.
The new teacher and principal appraisal systems, T-TESS and T-PESS, respectively, were designed based on the recommendations of our state educators and in the best interest of educator development. The Texas Education Agency did not shape any component of either T-TESS or T-PESS for the purpose of securing a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act. Because the commissioner would not require districts to implement a single system or require districts to use value-added measures as their measure of student growth, Texas was placed on a conditional waiver with a high-risk designation for the 2015-2016 school year.
Now that the necessity of securing a waiver has passed, TEA and the twenty regional service centers can continue with the work of supporting districts as they transition to T-TESS and T-PESS without the burden of federal interference. T-TESS and T-PESS will become the state recommended teacher and principal appraisal systems with the 2016-2017 school year. Student growth is scheduled to become a required component of all teacher appraisal systems and T-PESS during the 2017-2018 school year. Even though all districts will be required to implement student growth as a part of their teacher appraisal system in 2017-2018, no district will be required to use state test scores in their measure of student growth.