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Cranford Will Receive $114,000 Grant To Participate In State Pilot Program

The school district will participate in a new educator evaluation program.

A $114,000 state grant will allow Cranford teachers to participate in a pilot program to develop new educator evaluation systems in conjunction with the NJ Department of Education.

is one of 24 districts have been selected to participate in either the second year of the Christie Administration’s teacher evaluation pilot program or the first year of the principal evaluation pilot program during the 2012-2013 school year. Of the 70 districts that applied to participate in total, 10 districts were selected to receive a total of $1 million in the first round of grant funds for the teacher evaluation pilot and 14 districts were selected to receive a total of $400,000 for the principal evaluation pilot, all pending final review procedures. 

Educators in these districts will work collaboratively with the Department to develop new educator evaluation systems for rollout across the state to help teachers and principals continuously improve their practice.

"All Cranford teachers and administrators remain thoroughly committed to and involved in the continual improvement of all of our professional efforts in educating our children," Superintendent of Schools Gayle Carrick said. "We are eager to contribute to the new Excellent Educators for New Jersey Pilot Program Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation System Cohort 2A and are appreciative of the anticipated $114,000 that this grant award will provide to assist Cranford locally with the associated training costs and technology purchases to advance the new state mandated process. "

 Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf said the purpose of the program is to give teachers feedback and support so that they can continue to improve their performance in the classroom.

“We are taking a thoughtful and measured approach to make sure that we get this new evaluation system right," Cerf said. "The work of educators in our pilot districts have already provided important information and will continue to guide us as we move to implement the new system across the state in the 2013-2014 school year. Meaningful evaluations will give us another powerful tool to ensure our children have the most effective teacher possible at the front of every classroom and that we move closer to our goal of preparing all of our students for college and careers.”

Throughout the first year of the teacher evaluation pilot, teachers in the 11 pilot districts and 19  School Improvement Grant schools helped the DOE develop and refine aspects of the new teacher evaluation system in preparation for the roll out to all districts in 2013-14. Educators and administrators provided feedback on the impact the new evaluation system is having on their teaching practice, schools and districts. Examples of the feedback include:

  • Teachers indicate that they receive more meaningful feedback on their practice than ever before and that they appreciate having a seat at the table to help collaboratively develop the new evaluation system;
  • Stakeholder engagement is critical throughout implementation of a new evaluation system;
  • District stakeholder committee meetings that are open to additional staff members help build a culture of trust, transparency, and two-way communication; and
  • Quality and in-depth training is critical to teacher understanding, administrator familiarity with technology, accuracy and reliability of ratings, and quality feedback.

In order to increase the number of districts participating in the second cohort of the teacher evaluation pilot, the Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO) released to Title I districts will be reissued this week. Although 9 eligible districts applied in the first round, only one earned the minimum score necessary to receive funding. The Department will provide technical assistance to all eligible districts, including those that previously applied and did not qualify, in order to strengthen the applicant pool.

To ensure that as many districts as possible are participating in the pilot, the Department intends to engage the 21 districts that earned at least the minimum score but were not selected to receive funding. These districts are invited to join the 2012-13 pilot, participate in the state-level Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee, receive support and guidance from DOE’s evaluation implementation team, and contribute to the forthcoming third-party evaluation of the pilot. Additionally, the 11 districts that received funding in the first year of the teacher evaluation pilot program have been invited to continue collaborating with the DOE in the second year and will split $200,000 to continue the implementation of their evaluation systems if they accept.

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