10 school districts selected for teacher-evaluation pilot program

TRENTON – The Department of Education today announced that 10 districts have qualified to participate in a teacher evaluation pilot program during the upcoming school year.

The Excellent Educators for New Jersey program will share in $1.1 million in state grant funding.

An 11th district, Newark, which is overseen by the state, also will participate via a separate grant.

Part of the administration’s ongoing effort to revamp teacher evaluations and the education system overall in the state, this program will have teachers being evaluated on various measures, including student performance.

The administration plans a statewide rollout of the program in 2012.

“The pilot district program we are moving forward with today will help to develop fair and meaningful evaluation systems that finally recognize and celebrate great teachers, and provides teachers at all levels with the support they need to constantly improve,” Gov. Chris Christie said in a release.

But his education reform efforts consistently have met with criticism from the N.J. Education Association.

According to the Education Department, teachers won’t be evaluated solely on the basis of test scores, but on multiple measures that include both learning outcomes and effective practices, with approximately 50% associated with each.

In addition, to avoid penalizing teachers who work with the highest-need students, evaluation criteria should favor student progress and not absolute performance, according to the Education Department.

Last year, Christie created an Educator Effectiveness Task Force, which released a report in March outlining several reforms. Over the past five months, the Education Department developed the grant process to award $1.1 million in federal and state money to districts that will implement a new evaluation system based on that task force’s findings. The Department outlined a framework for the new evaluation system.

The selected districts include:

District

County

Alexandria Township

Hunterdon

Bergenfield

Bergen

Elizabeth

Union

Monroe Township

Middlesex

Ocean City

Cape May

Pemberton Township

Burlington

Red Bank

Monmouth

Secaucus

Hudson

West Deptford Township

Gloucester

Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional

Salem

Newark (to be funded through a separate grant)

Essex

10 school districts selected for teacher-evaluation pilot program