04/03/2020 – What happens next? Urgent survey on Evaluations inside

A word about the announcement
of Colorado school closures

As you have likely heard by now, Jefferson County School District in addition to all of the Denver Metro Area districts will be closed for the remainder of the school year as we all work to #flattenthecurve and protect each other, our families and our communities from the devastation of COVID-19.

I know this is an incredible blow for many of us and at times like this there are very few words to try to make things better. As we move forward in the next two months we are going to have to lean in and rely on each other for this work and we must stick together. Not only the educators in Jefferson County but also our students and our parents and our community members. We will be working together to get through an incredibly difficult time.

I do know this, that the sun will come out again. When it returns, we don’t yet know, but we are strong, we are together and we will get through this. I cannot say that I believe it will be easy. In fact I believe it is going to be incredibly hard. But know that our association, JCEA is here for you and we are incredibly proud of the work you have all done thus far. As the President of this association I could not be more proud of the things I have seen accomplished over the last few weeks.

I know in this incredibly difficult time that lots of us are going to have to grieve the loss of the school year. I hope you understand this decision was made to keep our communities safe. To keep our educators, our parents and our students safe from an incredibly dangerous virus.

As we move forward, let’s stick together, be strong and take care of each other. Myself and your JCEA leadership and staff are sending each and every one of you our best.

This too shall pass.

In solidarity,

John Ford

Leading the way in Jeffco on evaluations

We have heard our members loud and clear – as we shifted to online learning, many of you reached out with questions and concerns about the evaluation process. You may have seen that our Governor made some comments about educator evaluations during his press conference yesterday.

While he has taken some action, he has also left substantial room for local control and for each district to make their own decisions. This means, we still have work to do here in Jeffco to help design how evaluations happen this year.  Your voices have been extremely effective thus far in helping craft online learning and we must continue to raise them loudly.

We have created a QUICK survey and need as many of our members to fill it out as possible to help us craft our priorities moving forward. Please take 60 seconds to take the survey – it will be open until Monday at noon. We also need your help in sharing this survey far and wide – send it to as many of your colleagues as you are able.

bit.ly/JCEA_Eval_Survey

Further information from the CDE
on educator evaluations

https://www.cde.state.co.us/educatortalent/educatortalentcovid19faq#EE

Educator Effectiveness

What does the Governor’s Executive Order Order D 2020 007 say about Educator Effectiveness?

Gov. Polis on April 1 suspended the requirements of the state law on the frequency and duration of employment performance evaluations for school districts, charters schools and BOCES licensed personnel, including teachers, special service providers, principals and administrators to enable schools and districts to focus on providing alternative learning opportunities for their students.

Will districts, charter schools, and BOCES be required to submit educator effectiveness ratings next year in the 2020-2021 HR Collection?

No. The Governor’s Executive Order pauses the requirement on districts, charter schools, and BOCES (together, “Local Education Agencies or LEAs”) to annually evaluate licensed personnel this year (2019-2020). State Board of Education rule, 1 CCR 301-87 (6.01) sets forth the requirements for the collection and reporting of educator effectiveness measures. CDE will not request educator effectiveness data in the 2020-21 HR Collection, and, instead, will allow and recommend that districts zero-fill the educator ratings fields in the 2020-21 HR Collection.

May a district, charter school, or BOCES still complete educator evaluations for the 2019-2020 school year?

Yes, LEAs may choose to complete the educator evaluation process for all or some educators.

To be clear: All the Executive Order does is suspend the state statutory requirement that LEAs evaluate licensed personnel for the 2019-2020 school year. Whether an LEA may finalize evaluations for some, all, or none of its teachers, administrators, and special services providers in the 2019-2020 school year—for purposes of improving instruction or making personnel decisions—is up to the LEA. An LEA’s options may vary depending on the terms of its evaluation system and any collective bargaining agreement. If uncertain of any question regarding educator effectiveness at the local level, an LEA should consult with its legal counsel.

Do LEAs have to give educators their final summative rating two weeks before the school year ends?

No. The Governor’s Executive Order suspends this and all requirements from SB 10-191 to allow flexibility for this school year. However, LEAs may still choose to do this if they wish.

What is the impact if you have a probationary teacher who could be earning their third consecutive year of effective evaluation ratings to move them to non-probationary status if rehired for the next school year?

Although the statutory requirements are paused, LEAs may choose to complete an evaluation of any teacher, and may wish to consider the completion of the 2019-20 evaluation for a teacher to move to a non-probationary status if rehired. As a reminder, a probationary teacher acquires non-probationary status after “three consecutive years of demonstrated effectiveness, as determined through his or her performance evaluations and continuous employment.” § 22-63-203(1)(b), C.R.S.

How are first and second year probationary teachers affected if they are not able to have the three consecutive years of educator effectiveness ratings?

Although the statutory requirements are paused, LEAs may choose to complete an evaluation of any teacher, and may wish to consider the completion of the 2019-20 evaluation for an educator in this situation. Additionally, there is the possibility that current year legislation (when resumed) may address this concern and consider the lack of a 2019-20 school year educator evaluation as no interruption in the consecutive year count for probationary educators. Please note this is not a final determination as it would have to be taken up upon the reconvening of the legislature for this spring.

What is the impact on non-probationary educators who have one or two years of ineffective ratings?

LEAs may choose to complete an evaluation of any educator, including any non-probationary teacher who may lose his/her non-probationary status. As a reminder, a non-probationary teacher “who has had two consecutive years of demonstrated ineffectiveness” reverts to probationary status. § 22-63-103(7), C.R.S.

Will principal and Special Service Providers (SSP) evaluations also be suspended?

Yes. LEAs are not required to complete evaluations of principals or SSPs including reporting data to CDE. However, LEAs may choose to complete the evaluations of any educators.

What about portability? In the 2020-2021 school year, what years’ evaluations will non-probationary teachers applying for portability need to submit to the hiring LEA?

The portability statute provides that a non-probationary teacher may provide evaluation evidence for the “prior two years” and that the hiring district will grant non-probationary status based on “two consecutive performance evaluations with effectiveness ratings in good standing.” The statute simply does not address what should happen if a teacher seeking to retain non-probationary status with a new LEA lacks an evaluation for the 2019-2020 school year.

Our hope is that employers and applicants will work together to develop a shared understanding in such circumstances, including by using the two previous evaluations (2017-2018 and 2018-2019). Ultimately, hiring LEAs will make a local decision on what evaluations to accept from newly-hired non-probationary teachers for purposes of portability.  

What impact will the pause in state CMAS testing have on educator evaluations?

Per statute, state summative assessment data cannot be used unless it is available prior to the end of that school year. For summative assessment data, such as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) statewide annual assessments, that comes to LEAs after the end of the school year, that data is used in the next year’s measurement of student learning. Accordingly, the cancellation of the spring 2020 CMAS testing does not impact the 2019-2020 evaluation process.

The cancellation of the spring 2020 CMAS testing will impact the 2020-2021 evaluation cycle, however. Next year, LEAs will need to adjust their measures of student learning frameworks to not use CMAS data. State relief is not necessary in order for them to make these adjustments because statute requires use of state summative data only “when available.”

Will the deadline for LEAs’ assurances regarding educator effectiveness be extended?

Educator effectiveness assurances are due by July 1, according to state board rules. The assurances collected by July 1, 2020, pertain to educator evaluation practices planned for 2020-2021 school year.

CDE anticipates that the state board will extend that deadline this year in emergency rulemaking or that CDE will allow LEAs to adjust their evaluation systems for the 2020-2021 school year after they have submitted their assurances. This flexibility will give LEAs more time to change their frameworks for measures of students learning and measures of student outcomes for the 2020-2021 evaluation cycle (see previous question).

Specific insight from the CEA Legal team on electronic devices and evaluations –