The Union City School District has fully implemented a new, research-based educator evaluation system in the 2013-2014 school year as required by the "Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of Jersey" Act (TEACHNJ Act) that was signed into law on August 6, 2012. TEACHNJ defines new requirements for educator evaluation systems, professional growth plans, and tenure decisions. AchieveNJ establishes the regulations and support structures necessary to effectively implement this law.
The Union City School District initiated the process of building capacity for implementation of the new requirements of the educator evaluation system, by forming a District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC) in Spring 2013, to ensure stakeholder engagement, as part of its Race to the Top program. The DEAC was and continues to be comprised of a Board of Education member, district and school administrators, teachers, and a representative from the Union City Education Associates (UCEA). The DEAC began investigating research-based evaluation models and instruments that promoted and supported teacher and leader effectiveness. After reviewing numerous evaluation models the consensus of the DEAC was the develop customized teacher and principal evaluation practice instruments that would optimize professional performance through meaningful feedback and ongoing professional development opportunities.
The Union City Teacher Effectiveness Framework and the Union City Principal Effectiveness Framework are the evaluation practice instruments that were developed by the DEAC, with the technical assistance of the School Improvement Network, in accordance with the regulations of AchieveNJ. Both of these evaluation practice instruments were approved by the New Jersey Department of Education, in December 2012, as part of the district’s new evaluation system.
After the approval of these evaluation practice instruments, the office of Academic Programs, in collaboration with the School Improvement Network, provided an effective use of the new evaluation practice instruments, to district and school level administrators. The Train-the–Trainer model was used to continue to build capacity, on implementation of this new evaluation system and the evaluation practice instruments. Teacher leaders, from each school, became trainers after attending a training at each of their respective schools to instructional staff on June 5, 2013. This required training was repeated on September 4, 2013, and on February 6, 2014 for newly hired instructional staff and for those returning from leaves of absence.
The Union City School District recognizes that effective educators are the single most important factor in a student’s academic growth. Therefore, the DEAC along with the School Improvement Panels in each school, will continue to work with district and school administrators to ensure, oversee, and support the district’s evaluation system with the goal of improving the teaching and learning process in all classrooms.