Superintendent discusses teacher evaluations at forum

November 21, 2012

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

The Portsmouth City School District conducted an Education Forum Tuesday. Superintendent Scott Dutey headed up the forum which addressed progress within district. The Education Forums are conducted on a quarterly basis with district staff and administrators, and extends invitations to parents and community members.

Dutey reported that the evaluation tool for teachers will be modified a great deal within the next year. He said 50 percent of teacher evaluations will a 50/50 split, with one-half to be the actual evaluations and the other 50 percent based on data. This will be nothing new for reading and math teachers of grades 3-8.

Dutey said that every teacher in every district will have the opportunity to make that 50 percent look like they want it to, and he used achievement tests to convey how teachers would have the opportunity to utilize their data.

“For example, the 50 percent could be totalling the achievement test, the OAS, if you wanted it to look like that,” Dutey said. “Every district will have the option to lower that down to 10 percent. The other 40 percent could look like what the district, or the grade level teacher creates.”

Dutey also said every teacher will be evaluated according to beginning-of-the-year and end-of-the-year knowledge.

In addition to the teacher evaluation changes, Dutey said Student Learning Objectives (SLO’s) will change. He said SLO’s are a measurement which reveal student growth, and-or lack thereof, in each education content area during the course of the school year.

“Principals are going to be evaluated just like the teacher, they are identical,” Dutey said.

Dana Pollock, principal at Portsmouth Elementary School, briefly discussed the schools recent event, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Day, and her part in the event, before turning the remainder of the presentation over to Lori Lemaster, a 4th grade teacher at the school. She said the book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” written by author Jeff Kinney, had gained mass attention by students all over the school.

Lemaster reported that Kinney learned of the PES event through Google Alerts, and had his publicist to contact the school. She said Kinney’s originial intent was to come to the school to meet with the students, but was unable to do so, due to his demanding schedule. Kinney instead requested that the students come to meet him at one of his book-signings in Cincinnati. Fifty-two of the 4th grade students were taken by bus to Cincinnati to meet Kinney.

Lemaster said she was awestruck when she received the phone call from Kinney’s publicist.

“We were treated like rock stars,” Lemaster said. “It was awesome, being escorted around 2000 other students in line.”

Another presentations was given during the forum by PES Intervention Specialists, Twilite Pack and Brandon Pate and who work with students in reading with two programs called Vocabulary SpellingCity.com, and Reading Eggpress which the students access via iPads. Pack said their goals is to help the students who struggle to find success in reading.

The new band director for the district, Mike Swintek gave his debut presentation to the group, discussing his ideas and new vision.

“Members of the band will be exposed to some new activities, such as competitions. The plan is to hopefully take the kids to three competitions next school year,”Swintek said.

Teressia Bowen, paraprofessional and liason of the McKinney-Vento Homeless grant, gave an update of the continued services which the grant provides for students that do not reside in traditional home environments. The grant aids students whose families are homeless, live in hotels, motels, and campgrounds, and is very competitive.

Kristi Toppins, principal of Portsmouth East Elementary, discussed recent activity and progress within the school.

“We have one class in which every student has already passed the third grade test. We have to continue to work hard. We want all of the students to realize that there is so much more to learn,” Toppins said.

Toppins also discussed the schools annual Veteran’s Day program. Twelve veterans — including two teachers — participated in the programs, where students sang patriotic songs and delivered their written essays.

“One student wrote that the purple heart stands for freedom, bravery, honor, respect, democracy, and love for our country,” Toppins said.

One veteran brought his purple heart to the school for students to see.

“He presented the medal back to East Portsmouth Elementary because he felt that we had the heart, that we show that we care about others, he really appreciated us inviting him to our school, and brought two of his buddies,” Toppins said.

In closing the forum, Dutey spoke briefly about the assessment test. He said the district will continue to exhaust relentless effort to ensure success of all of the third graders, and every student within the district.

“We are extremely glad that 65 percent of third graders have successfully completed the assessment tests, but we now have to focus on the percentage that did not pass.” Dutey said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@heartlandpublications.com.