Norwalk BoE approves teacher, school administrator evaluation process

Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera
Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera questions Deputy Superintendent Tony Daddona at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Updated 8:19 p.m. with link to Site Director job description.

NORWALK, Conn. – A state-based model for Norwalk teachers and school administrators was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Board of Education.

“It is what it is,” Norwalk Federation of Teachers President Bruce Mellion said before the meeting, meaning that the school district didn’t have much choice in the evaluation process because it had to be based on what Connecticut would approve. He said it was good that the schools at least got to use the Danielson Model.  

Deputy Superintendent Tony Daddona said that state documents had been the basis for the evaluation process. The evaluation had gone to the state for approval, and was now before the BoE, he said.

Administrators will have 40 percent of their rating based on observation of leadership performance, 10 percent on stakeholder (parents and teachers) feedback, 45 percent on student learning and 5 percent on teacher effectiveness, Daddona said. Half of the student component is how the kids perform on state tests and half is based on local standards, he said.

Teacher evaluations will have 40 percent based on observation of their performance, 10 percent on parent feedback, 45 percent on student performance and 5 percent on school performance. Because there are no state tests this year, the 45 percent student performance will be measured by assessments administered over time.

Daddona said the Danielson model was different from what the state suggested but it had been approved because Norwalk has had success with it.

Norwalk Superintendent Manny Rivera emphasized school culture, student engagement and school progress monitoring.

“What we have been working on and what we are actually getting into in more details tomorrow with our administrators … is to try to get really clear about what is important here in Norwalk that is directly in sync with those evaluations. So we have a lot of discussion around expectations, about culture and what that means and what that would look like, and how do you create a school culture that is engaging, a classroom culture that is one built around respect, built around professionalism, one built around engaging students,” Rivera said. If there is a question the Special Education department will be brought in, he said.

Migdalia Rivas asked how school psychologists, speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and social workers would be evaluated. Daddona said that unique to Danielson is standards for social workers, etc., that are specific to the schools they work at.

Artie Kassimis asked how parental involvement for the feedback component would be increased from previous efforts.

Daddona said lessons had been learned. It’s important to start earlier and, “if the questionnaire is too long people don’t answer it.” School Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) and school governance councils will have input, he said.

Site Director


18 responses to “Norwalk BoE approves teacher, school administrator evaluation process”

  1. John Hamlin

    A step forward.

  2. Norewalk Lifer

    Make sure the state health department audits how these people clean, fair warning.

    Norwalk Lifer

  3. MarjorieM

    Seems to me, since the New Curriculum Administrators in the school are splitting the evaluations of staff with the principals, there will be no time for the use of their curriculum expertise. Between learning about the new evaluation model and learning about core curriculum, the goals of the grant from which they are paid can’t possibly be met. Remember, the curriculum administrators are the former assistant principals. They will need to be brought up to speed on core curriculum and how to train teachers. How does this plan make sense to anyone?

  4. Marj, the plan is a vast improvement over what preceded it, and adds rigorous evaluations of principals (practically nonexistent before) to evaluations of teachers. Your crystal ball on a lot of predictions has been pretty inaccurate; you might want to give let us give this a try before announcing that it “can’t possibly” be done.

  5. MarjorieM

    Mike, I agree that principals will be under more scrutiny. That isn’t the point of my argument. What I don’t understand is how the former ass’t principals will morph into Curriculum experts. Will the curriculum experts also continue to lead the special education IEP meetings? If not, who will take those over? Maybe an explanation of how the ass’t principals will be the agents of curriculum change would help? And I don’t mean in generalizations. What do you mean by some of their administrative duties will not be done by them anymore? As you already know, I ask the hard questions. I need to be convinced that what seems unlikely is likely. Thanks for your time.

  6. Marj, I do try to be responsive but I have a life aside from my volunteer position as BoE Chair. I am forwarding to Nancy the job description for the new site directors and the resume of the site director we appointed last night for Naramake School, Evelyn Russo, and requesting that she link it here, so you can review these as background on the new positions.

  7. A PDF of the job description of Curriculum and Instructional Site Directors has just been added.

  8. MarjorieM

    Thank you Nancy and thank you, Mike. Perhaps I can ask Nancy to report on who are the site directors for curriculum in the schools? I am wondering if some of the Ass’t Principals have the required background. For example, I know Herman Davenport was a social studies chair at the high school and wonder if he will remain as the site director for elementary curriculum now. I have nothing against Herman. I am just trying to determine how the people who filled the new positions were chosen. I know in the past the union made sure no one lost a job. Is this still true? NoN, would you kindly shed some light on this?

  9. Marj, I’m forwarding Nancy the other site director appointees with resumes. The positions were chosen per the procedure outlined in the Diversity Employment Plan (also being forwarded to Nancy), pages 6-9. All appointments received unanimous support from the Board.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Marg & Mike

      We will do something with these. Give us few days — maybe sooner. Lots coming at us…

  10. MarjorieM

    I certainly appreciate your responses and the time you’ve spent on this for me. Thanks, Mike.

  11. Lifelong Teacher

    Marge, Herman Davenport was an assistant principal at Columbus Magnet School. I am not quite sure why you chose to single him out here. He retired from the system at least four years ago.

  12. MarjorieM

    He is listed on Silvermine school’s website under faculty. Look for yourself!

  13. Lifelong Teacher

    No need to look for myself, thank you. He retired years ago. Perhaps he did an interim assignment for a vacancy, but the man is long gone.

  14. Administrators need to held accountable for holding teachers accountable (and central office administrators need to be held accountable for holding principals accountable).
    In years past, and this was something I’ve seen in reviewing termination decisions (or in voting for settlements for terminated staff who had strong cases due to poor procedures used to evaluate them), the primary weakness in the evaluation system was inconsistent use of the model.
    Now, with a much better working relationship with labor counsel (sorry, but a good lawyer does make a difference), and more objective standards, not only will the system be improved but money will undoubtedly be saved.

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