During the March 9th Leon County School Board meeting, the board unanimously voted for the approval to decrease the amount of required formal and informal evaluations for teachers during the school year.
Deana McAllister, the Labor and Employee Director and Equity Officer for Leon County Schools, made the case that teachers have been under additional stress due to the pandemic. In response she contended that there needs to be a decrease in formal evaluations to mitigate unneeded stress on our educators.
According to the Leon County School Board Evaluation Handbook teachers are required one or up to two formal and one to two informal evaluations, plus additional walk-through observations throughout the school year depending on the level of experience.
With the changes approved on Tuesday, new teachers with no experience will still be required to undergo two formal evaluations and two walk-through observations. Teachers with one to three years’ experience will be required to undergo one formal evaluation and one walk-through observation. Lastly, teachers with four to ten plus years of experience will be required to undergo one formal evaluation and no walk-through observations. McAllister also stated all informal evaluations at all levels will be suspended for the 2021 school year.
Though the changes passed unanimously, the Vice-Chair of the Board, Daryl Jones, voiced concerns for the need for continued “up close mentoring,” especially for new professionals. Jones commented that the changes “may tie our hands in terms of the type of engagement between the administration and beginning professionals.”
McAllister reassured however, that while there may be fewer evaluations for the teaching staff, there is always support from the administration. According to McAllister there are still plenty of opportunities for “meaningful conversation” among their peers and personal “mentoring at the school level.”