Detroit Public Schools Opens Teacher Evaluation Review Process

Qualified teachers have until Nov. 30 to request a review of their 2012 evaluation scores

DETROIT, (October 23, 2012) – Detroit Public Schools announced that teachers who have been laid-off as a result of their 2012 performance evaluations can request a review of their scores. Requests for review will be accepted at www.detroitk12.org through Nov. 30, 2012.

Earlier this year, DPS became the first school district in the state of Michigan to implement an objective teacher performance evaluation as part of the selection and recall process affecting every DPS classroom for the start of the 2012-13 school year.

DPS’ performance evaluation tool took into consideration a number of variables, including classroom observations, and discipline and attendance, as well as relevant accomplishments and professional contributions to make up each teacher’s overall composite score of up to 100 points.

A new state law precludes public school districts from placing teachers in classrooms solely on the basis of seniority. At DPS, teachers (all of whom had been laid-off at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year) sought interviews with school principals who, for the first time, were given the opportunity to select the educators who would be at the front of classrooms in their school buildings for the coming year. Teacher recalls were based, in large part, on a teacher’s performance evaluation.

“Our number one priority is ensuring that each child in Detroit Public Schools receives the best education possible,” said Roy S. Roberts, DPS Emergency Financial Manager. “In order for that to happen, the most qualified teacher must be placed at the front of every classroom. Our implementation of teacher performance evaluations is critical to our efforts to ensure this quality education is received by all.”

The Michigan law defined four levels of effectiveness (highly effective, effective, minimally effective and ineffective) based on the evaluation’s 100 point scale, and mandated that if a school district chose to place a minimally effective or ineffective teacher in a classroom, the district would be required to send a letter to all parents/guardians of the children attending the school informing them of and explaining the decision.

On Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, DPS mailed letters to all teachers who were evaluated in 2012 outlining their scores and effectiveness rating. The review process is available only to those teachers who believe they were not recalled from lay-off due to an error in their evaluation.

“It is certain that no process is infallible. However, I want everyone to understand that DPS was acting in the best interest of its 50,000 students when we implemented our teacher performance evaluations,” said Roberts. “The state of Michigan gave us this incredible opportunity and we did not believe we could wait a moment longer to ensure our students get the education they so rightly deserve.”

To begin the review process, teachers must complete and submit the online form located on the Resources page of the district’s website, detroitk12.org. The district expects to have final resolution on all complaints filed no later than January 2013.

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