Field Trip: Observations & Conversations

“You could have a great conversation with somebody, you could talk about [teaching practice] and then, all of a sudden: ‘Okay, what was my rating?’ ‘Well, you got a ‘2’ in this area.’ And that would defeat the entire conversation.” – Jason Smith, Principal, Anna Reynolds Elementary School

At Newington Public Schools, teacher evaluations look different these days. Rather than a process that focuses primarily on the nuts and bolts of generating a score, the district changed how administrators and teachers approach the observation process. They trained administrators to ask questions that help teachers reflect and be self-directed in their learning. This has made a huge difference in how teachers engage in the evaluation process and hone their practice as a result.

This is the story of how Newington turned around its evaluation process and built trust by focusing on growth-oriented conversations instead of summative scores.


More about trust in teacher evaluations: