Superintendent Terry Grier addressed attendees at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education at the George R. Brown Convention Center recently to tell them about HISD’s goal to ensure every child in the city is taught by a highly effective teacher. In partnership with The New Teacher Project, Dr. Grier said the Effective Teachers Initiative is producing promising results.
An article on the AASA website provides a recap:
“Quality should not be determined by zip code. Every child should have the same exposure to excellence,” he said. “Every child is entitled to have a quality teacher in every classroom.”
Grier reported that in 2009 the district leadership discovered nearly all teacher evaluations were the same, with only 3.4 percent rated “below proficient.” “But we had students performing below level — the data was not consistent,” said Grier.
He described a need to establish a rigorous and fair teacher appraisal system that would provide useful assessments. Two years later, he said he could report:
• A new, rigorous and fair teacher appraisal system has been developed and all teachers have a professional growth plan;
• 586 teachers have been “exited” and another 160 were convinced to opt for an early retirement with a buy-out package;
• The district’s own data has helped determine which universities produce the most effective teachers, so they can optimize hiring of new teachers; and
• A new support system is in place to boost effectiveness of all teachers by embedding professional development into 30-45 hours instead of relying on a workshop to improve teaching.