ACCESS is taking a summer break!
This will be the last issue of the ACCESS newsletter for the school year. We’ll give your inbox a rest in June and July, so look for your next issue in early August. If you want to catch up on past issues, you can access all newsletters here . Have an idea or request for a topic that we should cover this fall? Please email us!
Teacher evaluation rubric revision moving along
This year, a steering committee of educators from across the state as been engaged in redesigning the teacher evaluation rubric. You can catch up on the committee’s work here . If you have questions about this work or ideas for the committee to consider, email . While this work continues, Delaware will continue to use the DPAS-II framework to ensure you continue to focus on calibration and implementation. Stay tuned for more information this fall on the release of the draft rubric!
2019 DPAS-II biannual survey is now open
The 2019 DPAS-II and Alternate Evaluation System (AES) biannual survey is now open. The survey is one component of an independent evaluation of DPAS-II and AES conducted for the Delaware Department of Education by an independent non-profit educational research organization ( ImpactED at the University of Pennsylvania) . Responses will be kept confidential and all responses will be combined and reported to the Department of Education in the aggregate.

  • When will the survey take place? April 17 – May 15
  • Why should we take this survey?
  • We are aiming for a response rate over 80 percent. Your participation will help us better understand educator views and experiences with DPAS-II and AES to support continued improvement of the system.
  • As you know, this year the department is undertaking Teacher Evaluation Rubric revisions. Every educator will be impacted by these changes. Having their input on the process surrounding the new teacher rubrics is critical.
  • Districts will receive district level summaries that can help them look at their own data around the evaluation system.
  • Who should take the survey? Teachers, specialists, and administrators evaluated by DPAS-II or AES
  • How do we know how our district is doing?
  • Current district/ school response rate (open the most current tab): District/ School response rate
  • How long will it take to complete the survey? The survey should take about 20 minutes.
  • How will the survey be administered?
  • Educators will receive an email with a link to the survey from ImpactED at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Will the survey be anonymous? Yes.
  • When will the results be ready?
  • The results will be ready at the end of July.

If you have any questions about or issues completing the survey, please email ImpactED at . If you have any questions for the DDOE, please email Seher Ahmad at
Digging deeper: Strategies for communicating clearly and accurately (criterion 3c)
Last month we examined criterion 3c: Communicating clearly and accurately. Teachers communicate with students throughout every lesson, sharing expectations for learning , directions and procedures and explanations of content . The DPAS-II rubric describes effective communication as the “teacher communications clearly and accurately to students, both orally and in writing.”

The critical attributes document for criterion 3c details these elements and indicators, and includes possible examples of evidence for criterion 3c at different performance levels such as:

  • Clear directions and procedures specific to lesson activities
  • Absence of content errors and clear explanations of concepts and strategies
  • Correct and imaginative use of language
  • Students accurately explain lesson concepts to peers
Share this with your teachers!
Ensuring that all students have access to clear and accurate communication requires careful planning on the part of the teacher. See below for resources teachers can use to develop activity directions, draft purpose statements, plan clear models, use vivid language and provide appropriate scaffolding.

Teach like a champion: Strategies for clear communication

There are several Teach Like a Champion strategies that can support teachers to communicate clearly and accurately. You can read more about these strategies and view videos of some in practice at the Teach Like a Champion website . A few strategies are outlined below:

What to do:  Giving clear directions reinforces accountability among students and helps differentiate if off-task behavior is a result of defiance or incompetence/confusion.   What to do begins with telling students what to do—rather than what not to do. For example, telling students to “not get distracted” or “cut it out” are vague, inefficient and unclear. Instead, Lemov posits that effective directions are:

  • Specific: focus on manageable and precisely described actions that students can take
  • Concrete: actionable tasks that any student knows how to do
  • Sequential: in a logical order that can be followed
  • Observable: plainly easy for the teacher (and other students) to see

Break it down: How do you respond to a student’s incorrect answer? Break it down is another strategy from Teach Like a Champion that can help teachers communication clearly. Lemov writes, “most teachers recognize that when a student error occurs, simply repeating the original question is unlikely to be especially helpful…[instead] champion teachers conceptualize the original material as a series of smaller, simpler pieces [then] go back and ask a question or present information that bridges the part of the material that they think was most likely to have caused the error.” Methods for breaking it down include:

  • Providing an example
  • Providing context
  • Providing a rule
  • Providing the missing (or first) step
  • Rolling back the students answer
  • Eliminating false choices

Get better faster: Strategies for clear communication

In Get Better Faster: A 90-Day Plan for Coaching New Teachers , Paul Bambrick-Santoyo shares applicable tools and techniques for coaches to effectively support teacher growth. Techniques are meant to be actionable (and practice-able) that as teachers practice concrete actions and skills, their instruction improves rapidly.

If the teacher is doing all of the thinking, they are the ones doing all of the learning. To build student use of vocabulary and ensure the bulwark of cognitive responsibility falls on the students, Bambrick-Santoyo encourages teachers to “go conceptual”, for example:

Ask students to verbalize a conceptual understanding of content, not just the answer to a specific question:
  • “That’s the procedure. Now tell me why that works.”
  • “Can you generalize that idea to apply to all problems like this one?”
  • “Use the following terms [vocab learned in previous classes] in restating your answer.”
Upgrade vocabulary: ask students to use technical/academic language when answering questions:
  • “That’s the right idea generally. Now state it again using proper mathematical/historical/scientific language.”
  • “Correct. Now state it again using your Academic Word Wall as a resource.”
Stretch it: ask particular students to answer a more difficult extension to a given question
  • “What would the answer be if I changed it to [change the problem to something more complex]?”
  • “Is there an alternative way to solve this problem/do this task?”
  • “What do you think is the strongest counter-argument to yours and how would you refute it?”

Economy of language: give crisp instructions with as few words as possible.
  • Instead of saying “grab your shoes, put them on, and meet me by the door”, teach a routine that is keyed-up by saying “everyone, shoes”.
  • Consider using hand signals with an instruction
  • Avoid lengthy explanations for routine behaviors

What other strategies do you use for effective communication in the classroom? Share them with us!
That's a wrap: Preparing for spring and summative conferences
Editor's note
This information is a repeat of what was shared in last year's May newsletter, back by popular demand! Do you have ideas for other content we should feature in ACCESS? Please email us!
Learning and development starts with reflection on progress and identification of strengths and growth areas. There are two opportunities for teachers to engage in this formal reflection. All teachers participate in a spring conference every year. This conference is an opportunity to review student learning compared to growth targets set in the fall and to determine Component 5 ratings. Novice teachers participate in a summative evaluation conference each year. Experienced teachers participate in a summative evaluation conference every two years. The summative evaluation conference is an excellent opportunity to reflect with teachers on their practice over the course of the cycle, to identify and celebrate areas of strength, and to make plans for areas of focus for the next year. Your goal as an administrator is to use the evidence you’ve collected throughout the cycle to share a summary of the teacher’s performance on all components of the Delaware Framework for Teachers. At the conclusion of the conference, teachers should have a clear understanding of where they stand in terms of their DPAS-II evaluations and a clear picture of the skills you will support the teacher to improve on in the coming school year.

Preparing Component 5
Every teacher receives a Component 5 rating every year; no teacher is exempt from Component 5. During the spring conference, the teacher and administrator review the growth targets set in the fall as well as the actual student data from the course of the year. Ratings for each measure are determined by the exceeds, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory targets set in the fall. An overall Component 5 rating is then decided based on the following possible measure rating combinations for teachers on a one-year cycle.
The table below shows summative evaluation ratings for Component 5 for teachers on a two-year cycle.
You are encouraged to review the DPAS-II Guide for Teachers to ensure full understanding and accurate implementation of Component 5. The guide specifically includes a table to aide in determining Component 5 ratings for experienced teachers in preparation for their summative conference held every other year. The spring conference to determine Component 5 must happen before the summative evaluation rating and conference.

The summative evaluation rating

A productive summative conference requires careful preparation. Make sure that you have gathered and reviewed all of the evidence you’ve collected over the course of each observation, as well as the ratings you assigned on the framework. You should also review notes from pre- and post-observation conferences as well as any other formative feedback that you’ve provided to the teacher. Align the evidence you’ve collected throughout the cycle to the criterion in the Delaware Framework for Teaching, and assign a performance rating for each criterion based on the evidence. Make sure that you can cite examples from evidence to back up your ratings and to help the teacher clearly understand what is driving a particular rating.

Then, based on the preponderance of evidence on each criterion, assign a rating for each component. The DPAS-II summative evaluation rating is determined through a formula that incorporates each component rating. Each of the components (Component 1-4 on the Delaware Framework for Teaching and Component 5 on student improvement) is worth up to four points. The point scale is:
Once all component ratings are assigned, add them all up to determine the final summative evaluation rating. The point ranges are in the table below:
Identifying feedback

While the summative evaluation rating is important to share with the teacher, equally as important is the summary of evidence and overall headlines about the teacher’s performance. During your preparation time, be sure to document specifically what areas of strength the teacher exhibited throughout the cycle, and how those areas of strength translate to criterion on the Delaware Framework for Teaching and the ratings the teacher received. Also be sure to clearly identify growth areas for the teacher. Be careful not to overwhelm the teacher, but instead identify two or three areas that, with focus and practice, would lead to a significant improvement in teaching and student learning.

Helping teachers prepare

A successful summative conference requires preparation and focus from both the administrator and the teacher. While the DPAS-II system does not require any specific type of preparation from teachers, you can support your teachers to reflect and plan prior to the conversation to ensure that it is a positive experience. There are a few steps teachers can take to prepare:
  • Review past observations, notes and feedback to refresh on feedback and trends from the cycle.
  • Review the Delaware Framework for Teaching, and self-assess on each criterion. Conduct an honest self-assessment based on the evidence and feedback from the course of the cycle.
  • Identify growth areas and support needed from the administrator in order to grow. Consider these questions:
  • What do you see as some of the strengths in your teaching practice?
  • What are areas in which you want to grow and develop?
  • In what areas of your instruction do you feel you’ve made improvement over the course of this year? What contributed to that improvement? How can we push that improvement further?

Having the conversation

Summative conferences should be scheduled at a time that both the teacher and the administrator can adequately focus on the discussion. Choose a space that is quiet, and limit interruptions as much as possible. This document includes a sample protocol for a 30-minute conversation. While your summative conference does not have to proceed in exactly this way, the protocol may help you to plan and structure the conversation to be successful. The DPAS-II Guide for Teachers has all of the required forms and documents you need to implement summative conferences.

There are five parts to the conversation:
  1. Framing: This brief but important step allows you to frame the purpose of the conversation to be about both reflection and on developing going forward. It also allows you to preview the structure of the conference for the teacher and to make sure that you both are aligned in what will be covered.
  2. Sharing the Summative Evaluation Rating: After framing, you should share the Summative Evaluation with the teacher. Highlight key points in the report, and provide the teacher time to review and ask any questions
  3. Reviewing Student Progress Towards Goals: Next, you should bring the conversation back to how students have performed in the teacher’s class this year. You may look at data from assessments, or dig specifically into Component 5 during this portion
  4. Reflecting on Instructional Practice: The meat of the conversation is when you and the teacher reflect on what went well in the classroom over the cycle, and identify on one or two growth areas going forward. This is the opportunity for you and the teacher to synthesize the Summative Evaluation ratings and student progress to build off of successes and address areas for growth
  5. Closing: The meeting closing is just as important as the other sections. It provides an opportunity to plan for next year, and what you will focus on with the teacher. It also allows you to reinforce areas of strength and how much you appreciate the teacher’s work.

What tools or resources have you used in the past to prepare for and implement summative evaluation conferences? Please share them with us!
Make the most of your summer!
Summer break is a time to rest and recharge. As an administrator, it’s also a great opportunity to take advantage of quiet in your building to plan for the year ahead. There are several steps you can take over summer as a part of your planning to make the implementation of DPAS-II smoother and more beneficial for you and your teachers. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Sharpen your skills: the DDOE offers a number of training sessions and bootcamps over the summer. The list below includes our current offerings; consider engaging in a refresher course to sharpen your evaluator skills, and make sure that any new evaluators in your building attend the required boot camp.
  2. Plan professional development based on the data: DPAS-II data can offer great insights into where, as a group, your teachers are strong and where teachers could benefit from additional training and support. Once your summative conferences are complete, take the time to mine DPAS-II data to identify criterion on which to focus PD next year. You can also identify teachers who are strong in particular areas and who might be great facilitators of training for their peers. Check out past issues of the ACCESS newsletter for meetings-in-a-box that you can use for specific criterion.
  3. Identify priorities for individual teachers: In addition to identifying topics for school-wide PD, the summer is a great chance to also review your individual teachers’ performance and to identify the best ways to support your teachers to be successful. Using this year’s DPAS-II data, identify the teachers in your building who are doing really well, and would benefit from recognition and encouragement. Also identify teachers who might be struggling, and create a plan for focused support and coaching for those teachers next year.
  4. Create your schedule: You’re likely spending much of your summer creating the schedule for your teachers and students for next year. While you do that, also consider creating your own schedule for DPAS-II observations and conferences. Build your schedule based on your assessment of teachers’ strengths and identification of teachers who might need additional support. Creating your schedule and strategy, and calendaring the steps you need to take now, will help you to ensure that you are meeting deadlines and having the time to provide teachers the support they deserve.

What other strategies do you implement in the summer to help you have a successful year ahead? Share your ideas with us!
What's on the agenda?
What should be on your DPAS-II to-do list this month:

  • Engage in end-of-year responsibilities related to DPAS-II
  • Create a plan for training for this summer - see ideas below!
  • Find relevant resources and information you need at the Educator Evaluation homepage on the DDOE website
Ensure a common understanding of what practice looks like at different performance levels
Offered monthly beginning in October, 2019 through March, 2019
PDMS Course #28106
DPAS-II For Evaluating Administrators (New Evaluators): Required one-day training for all administrators new to evaluating assistant principals, principals, and/or district administrators.
Offered beginning this summer.
PDMS Course # 27795
DPAS-II for Evaluating Administrators (Currently Credentialed): Required half-day training for administrators to become re-credentialed to evaluate assistant principals, principals and/or district administrators.
Offered beginning this summer.
PDMS Course # 27796
Training for 2019-2020 School Year
Mandatory 5-day training required of any educator before completing observations or evaluations. Find dates, times, and locations on the flier linked above, as well as registration information.
Virtual refresher sessions offered this summer to support your implementation of DPAS-II in 19-20.
Find dates, times, and locations on the flier linked above
PDMS #28105