ScIP Q & A

According to AchieveNJ, what are the major roles/responsibilities of the ScIP?

The roles of the ScIP are spelled out in TEACHNJ, which is the Tenure and Evaluation Law. According to the law, the ScIP shall “oversee the mentoring of teachers and conduct evaluations of teachers, including an annual summative evaluation, provided that the teacher on the school improvement panel shall not be included in the evaluation process, except in those instances in which the majority representative has agreed to the contrary. The panel shall also identify professional development opportunities for all instructional staff members that are tailored to meet the unique needs of the students and staff of the school.”

The ScIP is also supposed to conduct a mid- year evaluation for teaching staff members who were found to be partially effective or ineffective in their LAST SUMMATIVE REVIEW.  This means that this task will not come into play until the 2014-15 school year.

NJEA has recommended that local associations inform their administration that the teacher member on the ScIP will not be involved in evaluation.

Can there be more than one teacher on the School Improvement Panel?

The law states that the panel consists of a principal or his/her designee, a vice principal and a teacher. However, in regulations, the state board of education has allowed for the expansion of the ScIP to include more members. If the ScIP is expanded, AT LEAST 1/3 of the members must be teachers.

Is the teacher role on the ScIP an important one?

Absolutely.  It is a very important role. The teacher member of the ScIP should be the “resident expert” of the panel regarding effective professional practice and learning, as well as the proponent of model and research-based mentoring programs.

Mentoring, in the context of the ScIP, refers to an induction program for teachers new to the profession or new to the school district. It should not be confused with collegial or other coaching that is designed to support teaching staff members who might be struggling.

Further, this individual will need to be knowledgeable about instructional issues, professional development, the school, and the district. He or she will need to be diplomatic and assertive and able to speak up with administrators on behalf of quality professional development and mentoring for teaching staff overall.

Should the teacher member on the ScIP be involved in the evaluation process?

NJEA has STRONGLY ADVISED local associations to inform their administrators that the teacher member of the ScIP will NOT be participating in evaluation. This also means that the teacher members of the ScIP should NOT be involved in developing Corrective Action Plans (CAPS) or be asked by administrators to participate in supporting a teacher with a CAP.

What does “record of success” mean?

By academic year 2015-16, the official definition will be: The teacher member on the ScIP shall have received a rating of EFFECTIVE or HIGHLY EFFECTIVE on his/her most recent annual summative evaluation.

How long is the ScIP member’s term?

The maximum term by law is three years. The minimum term, set in regulation, is one  year.  

When will the School Improvement Panel (ScIP)  form?

The ScIP will form annually by August 31. All ScIPs should have been in place by February, 2013. 

Should the School Improvement Panel  identify quality professional development experiences for the staff?

The ScIP should identify PD opportunities for ALL teaching staff members based on review of aggregate school-level data, including, but not limited to, educator evaluation and student performance data to support school-level PD plans. 

Remember, if the local association has said that the teacher member will not be involved in evaluation, that teacher should NOT have access or engage in conversations about individual teachers’ evaluations. All information used to inform professional development decisions should be presented as aggregate school level data based on trends in the school.

For example…40% of teachers in Smith Elementary are having problems with………..

And please remember…you represent ALL teaching staff members in your building.

What types of data should the ScIP request from the district?

The ScIP should have a sense of school and district goals to help in planning professional development experiences. They should also have a copy of the district mentoring plan, which is not the responsibility of the superintendent to complete. The teacher member of the ScIP should also have access to aggregated data on teacher evaluations, as well as aggregated data on the observation scores given by evaluators in the building to ensure inter-rater reliability.

How many times should the School Improvement Panel meet during the school year?

There is no set number of times that a ScIP should meet during the school year. This will vary based on the size of both the school and the panel. However, it will need to have a sufficient number of meetings to be able to plan effective professional development as well as monitor the mentoring needs of teachers in the building, as well as review evaluation information and, for the non-teacher members of the ScIP time to meet for mid-year evaluations for teachers who scored less than effective on their last summative evaluation.

Should the teacher ScIP member serve on the Panel beyond his/her contractual time?

Many parts of the new evaluation law offer challenges and opportunities for collective bargaining. The ScIP would be one of those. The working conditions for ScIP members are an issue that should be determined locally based on the local collective bargaining agreement.

Recommended strategies for ScIP collection of data?

Input from instructional staff will be important for the work of the ScIP, particularly in regards to professional development.  Many schools, through their local professional development committees, developed surveys that could continue to be used for this purpose. 

Many of the technology components for the evaluation models contain the capacity to create the aggregated evaluation information that will be necessary for the ScIP.

It might also be helpful to elicit anonymous data from teachers new to the district to help to evaluate the effectiveness of any mentoring program. 

Are DEACs required?

From NJDOE web site:

Yes, since August 2012. When the TEACHNJ Act was signed into law, DEACs became a requirement for all school districts and are currently stipulated by regulation as follows:

Each district board of education shall meet the following requirements for the annual evaluation of teaching staff members, unless otherwise specified:

  1. Establish a District Evaluation Advisory Committee to oversee and guide the planning and implementation of the school district board of education's evaluation policies and procedures.6A:10-2.2(a)

Who is responsible for the DEAC? What decisions does it make?

From the NJDOE web site:

The superintendent is ultimately responsible for the formation and operation of the DEAC. The superintendent must decide how to use the advice provided by this committee and which DEAC decisions will be binding. This must be clearly communicated by the superintendent and understood by all members of the committee.

What are the benefits of an effective DEAC?

From the NJDOE web site:

A DEAC, with its broad-based and diverse membership, is instrumental in keeping all stakeholders informed throughout the evaluation process. Through this committee, teachers and administrators work closely together to problem solve and make recommendations. This process increases the transparency of the evaluation process and buy-in from staff.

What is the relationship between the ScIP and the DEAC?

From NJDOE web site:

A School Improvement Panel, or ScIP, oversees the implementation of educator evaluation at the school level. At a minimum, the ScIP ensures that evaluation procedures and mentoring processes are implemented, appropriate professional development is provided, and corrective action plans implemented. How the ScIP collects information to inform its decisions must be decided by each district. However, a ScIP may consider inspecting aggregated teacher observation data and SGO quality. Not only will this be useful at the school level, the DEAC may be able to discern district-wide patterns with information from each ScIP.

In addition to identifying PD opportunities, the ScIP and DEAC can work together to provide a consistent message across the district. ScIPs may collect from staff at each school questions which are then answered by the DEAC and published in a central location, such as the district website. The DEAC can also send district policy communications and other decisions to schools via each ScIP.

How does the DEAC check if the district is submitting the correct roster?

This will be done in late June. The Association should develop a system where every teacher can check their roster before the school district submits it.

Is it a district decision or an agreement between local and administration as to ratio of unannounced / announced observations?

Regulations require one announced and one unannounced observation. The third is at the district discretion.

Can non-tenured teachers serve on a ScIP?

Yes…but not recommended.

Who serves on the DEAC?

6A:10-2.3 District Evaluation Advisory Committee

(a) Members of the District Evaluation Advisory Committee shall include representation from the following groups: teachers from each school level represented in the school district; central office administrators overseeing the teacher evaluation process; supervisors involved in teacher evaluation, when available or appropriate; and administrators con-ducting evaluations, including a minimum of one administrator conducting evaluations who participates on a School Improvement Panel. Members also shall include the chief school administrator, a special education administrator, a parent, and a member of the district board of education.

If class time is 30 minutes, does a full class time of 30 minutes constitute a long observation?

      According to 6A:10-1.2 Definitions… "Long observation" means an observation for the purpose of evaluation that is conducted for a minimum duration of 40 minutes or one class period, whichever is shorter.

How many post conferences are required?

ALL observations require a post conference!

6A:10-4.4 Teacher observations

(a) For purpose of teacher evaluation, observers shall conduct the observations pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-123.b(8) and N.J.A.C. 6A:10-2.5 and 3.2, and they shall be trained pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:10-2.2(b).

(b) Observation conferences shall include the following procedures:

1. A supervisor who is present at the observation shall conduct a post-observation conference with the teacher being observed. A post-observation conference shall occur no more than 15 teaching staff member working days following each observation. A pre-conference shall be required pursuant to (d) below.

2. The post-observation conference shall be for the purpose of reviewing the data collected at the observation, connecting the data to the teacher practice instrument and the teacher's individual professional development plan, collecting additional information needed for the evaluation of the teacher, and offering areas to improve effectiveness.

3. If agreed to by the teacher, post-observation conferences for short observations of tenured teachers who are not on a corrective action plan may be conducted via written communication, including electronic.

4. A pre-conference, when required, shall occur within seven teaching staff member working days prior to the observation, not including the day of the observation.

Is there a Corrective Action Plan template?

Yes but, it is unmanageable. ScIPs should be working to develop a CAP template that is appropriate to the needs of the district. It should identify:

  • Goal for the CAP
  • Evidence as reason for the CAP
  • Activities and responsibilities of the administrator
  • Activities and responsibilities of the member
  • Identify opportunities for PD
  • Timelines for completion
  • Triggers if the timelines are not met – especially on the administrative side

Are administrators forbidden to share evaluations with other teachers?

Yes.  Administrators must respect the legal requirement for confidentiality of all teacher evaluations. They are forbidden BY STATUTE from sharing evaluations with any other teachers.

Should the letter from the local association (to the Superintendent) which states that the teacher member of the ScIP will not be involved in the evaluation process be sent every year?

Yes.   Better yet….language should be included in the collective bargaining agreement.

Should we remind administration that a teacher with a CAP should receive an extra evaluation.

No.   Not the association’s responsibility.

Does the ScIP  develop the school mandated goals in the PDP?

If there are any school mandated goals….this is an excellent function of the ScIP.

Can a ScIP member be a mentor at the same time?

If the teacher member of the ScIP is not involved in evaluation…AND THEY SHOULD NOT BE…there is no conflict of interest.