Home News Local News RISD celebrates ‘exemplary, highly effective’ teachers

RISD celebrates ‘exemplary, highly effective’ teachers

Dr. Kathleen Pittman asks a question of the assistant superintendents (not pictured) at the Roswell Independent School District’s monthly board meeting on Tuesday. Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy, Board President Mona Kirk, Secretary Alan Gedde, and Vice President Ruben Sanchez listen to the question. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy this week announced there has been significant growth in the number of exemplary level or highly effective-level teachers at RISD, according to the state Public Education Department’s (PED) NMTEACH educator effectiveness system.

On Friday, Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski explained in a conference call with newspapers around the state how the fifth year of the statewide teacher evaluation system works and what feedback the PED is receiving from teachers on the matter. Ruszkowski said studies show that “nothing matters more” in student success than having effective teachers in the classrooms.

According to a PED press release, the five categories for ranking a teacher are: exemplary, highly effective, effective, minimally effective and ineffective.

NMTEACH is a compilation of scores drawn from the categories of classroom observations from administrators (40 percent), student academic growth (35 percent), teacher planning and professionalism (15 percent), attendance (five percent), and family and student surveys (five percent).

With the teachers’ attendance factor, Ruszkowski said the percentage of chronically absent teachers has decreased from 47 percent to 12 percent.

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McIlroy shared that 70 teachers earned the exemplary level designation, 34 more than last year, and 177 teachers are ranked highly effective, an increase of four. RISD also has 219 effective teachers, an increase of nine from last year.

McIlroy explained that last year 75 percent of teachers were ranked in the top three tiers and this time around that has increased to 81 percent. McIlroy added that only 19 percent of teachers are minimally effective or ineffective in this year’s results. She also said she found the decrease in teachers ranking minimally effective or ineffective to be “really remarkable.”

“What that says about the work that was done in 2016-2017, (at) RISD one out of four teachers were below the effective level,” McIlroy said. “We’ve improved those odds and it has gone to one out of five. So I am excited about that improvement. We’re not satisfied with that. We’re going to continue to grow and build our teachers because they deserve that and our kids most importantly deserve that.”

Exemplary teachers receive $5,000 — and $10,000 PED Excellence in Teaching awards for science and math teachers.

“We figured out it was just under $400,000 that our teachers have earned as a result of being exemplary,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to report out on that and congratulate our teachers for their hard work and for the leaders that support them.”

McIlroy and the board members gave kudos to the administrators who supported teachers in this growth. McIlroy said with assistance from Heidi Shanor, RISD’s director of leadership, other initiatives in the district will help teachers grow exponentially as professionals.

Pittman said it seems there is “pretty solid” correlation between an increase in school grades and teachers’ summative assessments. McIlroy agreed with Pittman’s statement because the school grades are also based on student achievement.

Adding to Pittman and McIlroy’s conversation, Kirk said the increases are additionally related to the consistency of the state testing and that teachers now have a firm grasp on what is required to help their students succeed.

On a statewide level, Ruszkowski said teachers are achieving higher and higher on the scale, and fewer teachers are falling into lower categories. Moreover, a press release stated “more students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams and the statewide graduation rate is at an all-time high of 71.1 percent.”

Ruszkowski also said there is rhetoric around the state that teachers “do not like” the system. However, he said 1,000 teachers attended the PED’s teachers summit this past summer. Seven hundred of those teachers responded to the PED’s survey and 74 percent of those agreed that they approved of NMTEACH.

“Every child — no matter their background — deserves access to an excellent teacher that will help them get on track for college, career, and their dreams; and we should all be extremely proud of our teachers statewide for rising to the challenge of higher standards,” Ruszkowski said. “It is our collective responsibility to elevate the teaching profession and be forthright about just how important teacher quality is in shaping our students’ lives. NMTEACH creates opportunities for districts and schools to provide direct, targeted feedback and regularly review student growth data that helps teachers improve in their craft.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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