LCUSD Board moves to avoid use of value-added data in teacher evaluations

A list of educational goals for the La Cañada Unified School District in the 2011-12 school year were approved at Tuesday night’s Governing Board meeting on a vote of four to one. School board member Cindy Wilcox was the lone dissenting vote.

Wilcox voted no because she wanted the board to include two new goals as to how district teachers are evaluated, including adding value-added data and internal teacher surveys (from parents and students) to the list of goals. Her motion was not seconded by any of her fellow board members.

Board member Joel Peterson said it was important to focus on the goals already in place.

“I think we have an enormous task ahead of us that’s going to take a lot of time and effort and it’s very daunting, especially with current funding levels,” Peterson said.

The list of goals is eight pages long and includes: continuing to provide a comprehensive K-12 curriculum that “matches or exceeds state standards in all subject areas;” reducing or maintaining class sizes (as funding allows) in fourth- through 12th-grades; and implementing an annual system for teachers and administrators to receive parent and student feedback on classroom instruction by department, course and/or grade level.

A few hours earlier, the board unanimously voted to adopt a resolution in support of the California Legislative Analyst’s Office recommendations to change personnel procedures, including teacher tenure.

The recommended changes from the Legislative Analyst’s Office included requiring “districts to use evaluations in place of seniority” in staffing decisions starting in 2012 and adding two additional years of observation before districts must decide whether or not to give a teacher “permanent status.”

Although using value-added data in teacher evaluations wasn’t made a district goal, LCUSD has received proposals from four major data management companies that have the software needed to compute an individual teacher’s value-added score.

“It’s our intention to have one of those in place sometime next year,” Supt. Jim Stratton said.

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