Aiming for effective educators in Moffat County

Senate Bill 191 passes in final vote, 37 -8

In the closing hours of its 2010 legislative session Wednesday, the Colorado Senate approved a controversial bill aimed at improving educator effectiveness.

Senate Bill 191, which was strongly opposed by the Colorado Education Association teacher’s union, outlines changes in the evaluation system for teachers.

Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to sign the bill.

Although the union opposed the bill throughout the process, Michelle Conroy, a second-grade teacher and co-president of the Moffat County Education Association, said the associations are more accepting of the legislation after 200 amendments were made to the bill.

“We’re more comfortable with it now that some of these amendments have been made,” Conroy said.

The bill includes several significant changes to teacher evaluations, basing them on student performance, and growth.

Under the new legislation, teachers will remain in a probationary status for three years, and must garner three “effective” ratings before being named to non-probationary status, commonly known as tenure.

Effectiveness will be based on several factors, with student growth accounting for 50 percent of the evaluation, according to the bill.

If a non-probationary teacher receives two ineffective ratings, he or she will be dropped back to probationary status.

Conroy said CEA wants to avoid a teacher’s career and future relying on factors out of their control, such as student achievement on state assessments.

“Teachers and principals never said we didn’t want to be held accountable,” Conroy said. “The issue was the punitive nature of the bill.”

Under the current system, a non-probationary teacher cannot be moved to probationary status, however a teacher can still be terminated using due process.

There is also currently significant district control over the evaluation model.

Superintendent Joe Petrone said the new state mandates can be incorporated into the Moffat County School District’s current model, and that a culture of support and teamwork will remain.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a bill that went through that’s pointing to things we know are right,” he said.

Conroy said the bill “will not destroy Moffat County.”

“We’re going to do the right thing,” she said. “If a teacher is ineffective, we will surround that teacher and make sure they become the best they can be.”

The statewide changes will not occur overnight.

The Governor’s Council for Educator Effectiveness, which was created by executive order, has been tapped to interpret the bill and provide recommendations for the evaluation system for all school districts.

The council has until 2013 to complete its recommendations.

Jo Ann Baxter, Moffat County School Board president and a former teacher of 30 years, was named to the council in March.

She said she saw the first draft of the bill in April after just one council meeting.

“The general consensus was they kind of put the cart before the horse,” she said. “I feel that the legislation got ahead of where the council was.”

Sen. Michael Johnston, D-Denver, who crafted the bill without input from the council, according to Baxter, has a background in school administration and teaching.

While the bill’s progression through the legislative system forged a divide among the Colorado Association of School Boards and CEA, trust will have to be rebuilt to move forward in student-centered reform, Baxter said.

Conroy said the bill was short-sighted.

“Senator Johnston had his heart in the right place,” she said. “But, he’s taking one piece and not looking at the whole ball of wax to make improvements.”

Petrone agreed that teacher evaluations are just one piece of a large, complex puzzle.

“It’s something no one has perfected,” he said of improving student achievement. “It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be moving onward and upward, but these are not straight forward issues.

“We want to get as close to perfect as we can because it’s about the students.”

Comments

justthefacts 3 years, 11 months ago

That is one small step for Teachers. ( They only have to do their job!)

One giant leap for students and the bright future ahead of them!!!

Fact: Only teachers that are not doing a good job, should be afraid of being graded themselves.

Fact: Ms. Conroy could almost stay in Steamboat Springs where she lives, and teach there. ( even after the bill was dumbed down to her and teacher union standards.)

Hi HO SILVER AWAY!!!

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CharminChatty 3 years, 11 months ago

One more thing, Justthefacts: you have made some detestable and false statements about Michelle Conroy. You seem to have no problem with Sylvia and Tom Duncan, however, who have failed to pay nickel-one in real property taxes in Moffat County, despite the fact that both of them soon will draw their full teachers' retirements from the Moffat County School District.

Justthefacts: Is this just one more example of your unprofessional and retaliatory selectiveness when you choose teachers on whom to visit your own particular brand of ugliness and petty vindictiveness? Michelle Conroy has had your number for a long time, Justthefacts, and she does not let you wriggle an inch in meetings with teachers whom you have mistreated through your unprofessional retaliation.

That, my dear Justthefacts, is the reason that you write ugly comments about Michelle, while you have nothing bad to say about the Duncans. Michelle challenges you. Sylvia and Tom, in contrast, fail to speak up, to take a position, or to defend anyone. Thus the distinction in your mind, Justthefacts.

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CharminChatty 3 years, 11 months ago

CDP Moderator: How can it be that Justthefacts puts down, libels, maligns, and disrespects every teacher in the MCSD, and yet never have I seen one of his obtuse comments removed by you for violation of your policy? I am extremely curious about why that is the case.

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CharminChatty 3 years, 11 months ago

This is becoming weirder and weirder. Are there gremlins inside the online posting at the CDP?

My own comment posted last Friday, 5/14, in which I voiced my ongoing objection to Justthefacts and the obnoxious, false, ridiculing, self-righteous, obtuse comments that he regularly posts against MCSD teachers, was removed this morning by the CDP at 11:37am.

As of this moment, however, even the fact that you deleted my comment has disappeared. What is happening here? This all seems very strange. Any why does Justthefacts get to malign all Moffat County teachers, while my responses to his false, rude, libelous comments is deleted?

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