The HISD Board of Education has given initial approval to changing its 20-year-old appraisal system. The district's Jason Spencer says the new system no longer relies on the results of a single classroom observation by the principal.
"The overwhelming majority of teachers get positive reviews using that system. A system that rates 99 percent of teachers as doing a good job at a time when a third of our students are reading below grade level -- there's some disconnect there."
The new system requires at least four evaluations between teachers and senior staff, looking at test scores and other categories of performance.
"When we're talking about student performance, we're talking about, you know, how well they're doing on exams that measure whether they're learning. For every teacher, we will use at least two different measures of student performance to help gauge that teacher's performance, and what areas that teacher needs to improve on."
The new appraisal system is the result of six months of evaluation by thousands of HISD teachers, school administrators, parents and community members. Spencer says it's totally different from how other districts in Texas conduct teacher evaluations.
"This is a pretty unique where we're very far ahead of the curve, coming up with a system that really dives deep into student learning and uses that as a significant aspect of how a teacher is appraised."
The HISD board is expected to vote on whether to give final approval to the new appraisal system on May 12th.