Track III—The Teacher Assistance Track
The purpose of Track III is to provide organizational support and assistance to teachers who are not meeting the district's teaching standards. The existence of this track is what makes it possible for Track II to focus on professional development rather than remediation.
In designing Track III, the evaluation committee should continue their focus on the spirit of quality assurance, with support, that characterized the beginning teacher program and the summative process within Track II. Educators should perceive of the assistance program in Track III as an in-house, good-faith effort on the part of the district. This track demonstrates the district's commitment to quality teaching by providing a supported, structured, and focused system of assistance to ensure that every staff member is meeting the district standards.
This track should be developed to serve a group of tenured teachers who are often identified as marginal teachers (those who, in the professional judgment of an administrator, are experiencing difficulty in meeting one or more of the district's standards for effective teaching). This track is designed for the district's tenured staff, not for the probationary staff. If probationary teachers are having problems in meeting the standards, administrators or peer review teams should deal with the problems through the established procedures in Track I.
Our experience suggests that in most districts, 2 to 5 percent of the total number of tenured staff should be involved with the assistance program. Obviously, this is a guideline, not a rule. Numbers of Track III teachers will vary, based on the rigor with which the district applies standards; the training the district provides to the staff; and the willingness of the district, the administrative staff, and—to some extent the teacher's union—to regard the assistance program as a necessary and important professional responsibility.
Two groups of teachers dominate those involved in the assistance track. The first group consists of teachers who are experiencing some trauma or stressful episode in their life. Divorce, serious illness, the death of a loved one, bankruptcy, family disputes, and some forms of depression and dependency—all these events can affect a teacher's performance in the classroom. When their problems result in failure to meet the teaching standards, then they enter the assistance program. This group of teachers tends to respond favorably to the