January 21, 2010
Douglas County, Colo., Teachers, School Board and District
To Jointly Create Teacher Development and Evaluation System
Labor-Management Partnership, Pilot Program Echo AFT’s Recent Call
WASHINGTON—In a strong show of shared commitment to ensuring great teaching and great teachers, the Douglas County, Colo., teachers union, school board and school district signed an agreement this week to work as partners to create and implement a teacher development and evaluation system.
“Everyone set aside any differences they had because of a mutual desire to move forward as a team dedicated to what is best for our students and teachers,” said Brenda Smith, president of the Douglas County Federation, which represents 3,400 teachers.
The agreement commits the teachers union, the school board and the superintendent to work as partners to develop and implement a continuous improvement model for teacher development and evaluation. The model will include multiple measures by which to evaluate teacher performance and student learning. It will be used to revise the district’s differentiated-pay program (which began in 1994), to inform future tenure decisions and to develop teacher leaders.
The plan will be piloted during the 2010-11 school year in several Douglas County schools and is scheduled to be implemented in all Douglas County schools in the 2011-12 school year.
Douglas County’s partnership comes on the heels of a Jan.12 speech by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers—Douglas County Federation’s parent union—encouraging such comprehensive teacher development and evaluation systems and labor-management partnerships.
“Douglas County teachers, school board members and the superintendent are showing the nation the way to better schools, teachers and student achievement. Working in partnership is the essential ingredient to transform good ideas into reality. I applaud every member of the team for his or her efforts, and for leading Douglas County schools toward a 21st-century education system,” Weingarten said.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.