Overview of Teacher Evaluation System
Newport News, Virginia, Public Schools
12465 Warwick boulevard
Newport News, VA 23606-6130
Newport News Public Schools is an urban district in Virginia with 45 schools serving 32,000 students in grades preK–12. The development of their Teacher Performance Assessment Handbook involved the commitment of hundreds of teachers, school and district-level administrators, and school board members. The design initiative began with a committee of volunteers who were supported by a consultant. Initially five schools field-tested and revised draft documents for two years. Due to insufficient teacher ownership, the school board approved an additional year for an expanded field-test that involved all grade levels. By faculty votes of 90 percent or more, 20 schools opted into the third year of field-testing.
It was at this point that performance scales and the concepts of evidence from Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching (Danielson, 1996) were incorporated with Charlotte Danielson's support and guidance. Formative and summative assessment processes were differentiated as distinct yet critical assessment cycles. After this third year of field-testing and more refinement, the procedures and documents in the process had sufficient teacher ownership to be approved by the district school board. Throughout these four years, the staff development department organized summer lead team conferences and quarterly dialogues in the areas of effective teaching, leading change, and sharing “what works” and “how this could be better.” Members of lead teams—teachers and administrators—assumed the responsibility for scheduling and leading customized staff development sessions at their own schools.
The Newport News evaluation system is structured as a differentiated system, with somewhat different procedures required for probationary teachers and for teachers under continuing contract.
Probationary Teachers. All probationary teachers are engaged in the summative evaluation process each year until they receive a continuing contract, typically after three years' teaching in Newport News.
Continuing Contract Teachers. Every fourth year (or when it is deemed necessary by an administrator), teachers under continuing contract engage in a summative evaluation process, in which administrators make judgments about teachers' performance. During the other three years of the cycle, teachers engage in a formative process, under the direction of