Sam Adams Elementary has been selected to be part of a pilot program this year. Seen here from left are Principal DeeAnn Melville-Voss, Deborah Warden from the University of Michigan and lead teacher Debora Stermer. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

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Sam Adams part of pilot program

Published 1:49pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cassopolis’ Sam Adams Elementary is one of 14 schools throughout the State of Michigan which have been selected for a pilot program.

In Sam Adams’ instance, it is part of The Thoughtful Classroom program, which will help determine how teachers and administrators will be evaluated.

Along with Sam Adams, the Gibraltar School District in Wayne County, Harper Creek Community Schools in Calhoun County and Lincoln Consolidated Schools in Washtenaw County are part of The Thoughtful Classroom.

The other programs are called 5 Dimensions of Teaching and Learning, Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching and Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model.

Districts were selected based on geographic location, demographics and size in other to make the pilot study as representative as possible of Michigan school systems.

None of Michigan’s largest districts were included in the program, but rather a mix of high-funded and achieving systems, as well as suburban and rural districts were selected.

“It’s all based on teacher effectiveness, teacher evaluation and student learning,” Sam Adams Principal DeeAnn Melville-Voss said. “It’s a one-year project. The timeline is September through May. The University of Michigan will be doing three site visits.”

“Through this process, the State of Michigan will determine which evaluations will be used for all the teachers in the state of Michigan,” added Deborah Warden, who is a school researcher from the University of Michigan. “There will be three visits, two with the principals and then one on their own. Another group will take all that information and evaluate it and give it to Gov. Rick Snyder.”

Among the things the program hopes to achieve is alternative ways of measuring student growth in non-tested areas such as art, music and physical education.

When the program was announced back in August, University of Michigan School of Education Dean Deborah Lowenberg Ball, who chairs the Council of Educator Effectiveness, said the goal is not to sort and fire struggling teachers, but to help educators improve.

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