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More than 200 RISD teachers highly rated; Local district results on NMTeach similar to statewide results

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Less than 3 percent of teachers in the Roswell public school system rated as ineffective for the 2016-17 academic year, while 37.11 percent performed at high levels, according to state data.

Results for the Roswell Independent School District from the 2017 NMTeach Educator Effectiveness System were released Tuesday by the New Mexico Public Education Department. They showed the following results.
Out of 601 teachers evaluated, 39, or 6.49 percent, rated as exemplary; 184 (30.62 percent) were judged highly effective; 230 (38.27 percent) scored as effective; 131 (21.8 percent) were evaluated as minimally effective; and 17 (2.83 percent) were ineffective.
Evaluation results were not made public regarding smaller districts or individual schools to protect teacher privacy, but all teachers and administrators received the evaluations Aug. 31.
The local results compare to statewide evaluation results released Friday of 4.5 percent exemplary, 27.6 percent highly effective, 42.2 percent effective, 22.4 percent minimally effective and 3.2 percent ineffective. Although exact numbers were not given for the categories, the Public Education Department did announce that 956 teachers statewide ranked as exemplary while 5,780 were judged as highly effective.
“New Mexico now has more highly effective and exemplary teachers than ever before. About 600 hundred more teachers statewide have a highly effective or exemplary rating,” said Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski.
The reason why that matters, he said, is that good teaching translates into better student outcomes.
“In this conversation, it can become very quickly about things that aren’t about student outcomes,” Ruszkowski said, “and we need to make sure that the conversation stays about student achievement.”
The difference between an exemplary teacher and an ineffective teacher, he said, is years of learning. The average student spending a year with an exemplary teacher will gain two years in knowledge in academic subjects, while the average student in a classroom with an ineffective teacher will not gain at all in academic achievement.
The difference between an exemplary and an effective teacher is about a year of growth, he added.
Now that districts and schools have five years of data, they can use that information to reward and retain good teachers and to develop personalized methods to help teachers improve.
Some teacher associations and groups have criticized evaluations for putting too much stock in student scores on standardized testing, testing they have said is flawed for a number of reasons including that it tests only on certain subjects and provides only a snapshot of performance on certain days.
Ruszkowski said that the evaluation system provides a better method than in the past for measuring teacher performance.

“As we move into five years of implementation, it is important to take stock of where we were in the past,” he said. “And where we were in the past was being completely in the dark. Either people weren’t being evaluated at all or else New Mexico and other states had systems where every teacher was earning an exemplary or good rating. That is not putting our kids first.”
Ruszkowski said that now principals and other administrators will know precisely how to help teachers improve instruction, rather than giving “cookie-cutter” professional training where all teachers received the same instruction or information.
The evaluations consist of five factors for most teachers. Student achievement accounts for 35 percent of the score; principal observation accounts for 40 percent; professionalism as well as planning and preparation, as determined by administrators, account for 15 percent; parent or student surveys are 5 percent; and teacher attendance is 5 percent. For teachers without student achievement scores, which is about 10 percent of New Mexico public school teachers, the factors are weighted a bit differently.
Ruszkowski said that the 2017 results include changes recommended by a group of educators known as the New Mexico TeachPlus Fellows. Those revisions include reducing the student achievement factor from 50 percent to 35 percent, increasing the weight of principals’ observations and increasing the allowable days of absences from three to six.
He added that the state receives $18 million in federal monies each year for teacher professional development and that evaluation data can be utilized to leverage the money more effectively.
Current PED programs to reward or improve teaching include bonus and stipend programs for high achieving teachers and those in hard-to-staff positions and mentorship and leadership programs such as the Teacher Leader Network and the New Mexico “Dream Team” of top literacy educators in the state.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.