The Lunch Tray of School Reform

Recently I found myself sitting in room full of Ohio principals and superintendents.  I was chosen by my home district to become involved with the OTES (Ohio Teacher Evaluation System) process for the state of Ohio due to my work with previous teacher evaluation processes including Measures of Effective Teaching (MET), National Board, and PRAXIS.  Due to this experience, I feel I know an effective teacher when I see one.


In theory, it is wonderful.  It is a standards based evaluation utilizing evidence collected from different sources including conferences, lesson plans, walk-throughs, and other observations done by an evaluator.  The whole process would happen twice a year for every teacher, giving each teacher to show improvement and professional growth. This method of evaluation is based on criteria set by NIET (National Institute for Excellence in Teaching) including works of Charlotte Danielson.  Good Stuff!


Here’s the problem:  Most principals are currently stretch to the breaking point as is.  To do this evaluation properly, evaluators need to devote approximately 10 hours per teacher per year, at least.  To keep the math simple, let’s say there are 100 teachers in one building with two administrators.  Each administrator evaluates 50 teachers.  That is 500 hours to do the evaluations.  That is 62.5 eight hour days.  12.5 weeks.  Just for evaluations.  Forget about parent calls, discipline problems, implementing Common Core and all of the rest of the duties of administration.


Here is the analogy – You are at a wonderful brunch buffet.  You are given a large tray on which to collect your food but you can only see 2 items at a time.  Do you just take a little bit of each item or do you load up on what you see?  How do you make room as you continue down the line?  Did that Cinnamon roll just fall off?  Was that yours or the person in front of you?  Did you forget your silverware?  How are you going to hold a drink too?


You get the idea.  Whether you are a teacher or a member of administration, our plates are full.  Something is going to get pushed to the side or fall off the plate completely.


Choose wisely.

lettered tray

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About DarlaMoore

In short - Teacher, Author, Speaker, and sometimes PopCulture Pirate. In long- Darla's 1st career was in Psychology. For the past 11 years she has taught everything from 3rd grade to college Freshmen in both urban and rural settings. She is a Lead Content Expert and Content Alignment Committee Member in the area of ELA for the Ohio Department of Education and has presented at numerous conferences and workshops. As an author she has contributed to The Gates Foundation, US Department of Education, ETS, AIR, and many other educational communities. Her anticipated series of books, Moore’s Common Core Teacher Guides will be available from Amazon starting July 2012. Follow her on Twitter at darlasays. You can also find her as part of Now2WOW Publishing

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