Parents question evaluation system for CCSD teachers

Parents question evaluation system for CCSD teachers
July 12 10:09 2017 Print This Article

On Tuesday, July 11 Charleston County School District (CCSD) Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait held a listening session for parents. A panel of about a dozen parents with children attending CCSD schools throughout the district participated. Parents discussed the need for the district to hire more parent advocates, increase teacher pay, develop parent volunteer programs for working parents, provide more support for new teachers, and provide diversity and sensitivity training for teachers.

Teacher evaluation was also discussed. This has been a hot-button issue for the district since the new evaluation system was introduced in April called Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS). With EVAAS teachers are evaluated based on their students’ standardized test score results, according to a computer algorithm.

Several parents asked what percentage of the teacher evaluation was influenced by test scores. Postlewait never directly answered that question but maintained that CCSD uses the South Carolina Department of Education Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teaching (ADEPT) teacher evaluation system.  She said that ADEPT does not have a test score component. In April, Postlewait stated that the district would go above and beyond ADEPT with the implementation of EVAAS. With heavy pushback from parents over the use of EVAAS in teacher evaluations, it is not clear whether it will continue to be used for the 2017-2018 school year.

Parents expressed concerns over the frequency of testing. Postlewait noted that most testing in the district is mandated by the state and federal regulations. The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests given three times a year are the only ones added by the district.

There were also concerns expressed about student safety. One parent is afraid to send her child to school because of the presence of violent students. She said the CCSD Progressive Discipline Plan is ineffective and there must be a model from other districts to improve behavior. Another parent complained that the district was not addressing the cyber-bullying of his daughter at West Ashley High School. Cyber-bullying was a major topic of concern among students at the student listening session on June 29.

Postlewait has committed to have listening sessions every nine weeks for teachers, principals, students, and parents. The district plans to release dates for the 2017-2018 listening sessions on August 1.