School Online – Journal – Day 24

It’s Day 24 for me, but Day 20 if you are counting instructional days.  And that means that we must notify all of our teachers if they are scheduled to  participate in either the Teacher Performance Appraisal process, or the New Teacher Induction Program.

The TPA occurs every five years for our experienced teachers.  The NTIP process requires two appraisals in the first year as a contract teacher, and  uses a shorter list of “look for”.

When we generated the list for our school of more than 500 teachers, 238 made the list.  The math may seem off, but this is mostly due to delays in processing existing appraisals.  In some cases it can be attributed to the lockdown in March. In others it’s a delay at some stage after the appraisal is written and signed by the appraising Vice Principal or Principal, and by the teacher.

Once everyone has signed, the Principal has to check off “complete” in the program used to write the TPA.  The Office Manager has to send an original, signed copy to the Superintendent’s office.  The Superintendent has to sign it. The Superintendent’s Office Assistant has to send it on to HR. And then someone in HR has to enter it into our corporate system.

With so many steps, its not surprising that our records today indicate that TPAs and NTIP appraisals are “incomplete”. And since they signed my name to every one of the notifications that went out today, much of my day was spent responding to concerned teachers, and facilitating communication with the school teams who conducted their appraisals.

This was not a welcome interruption to the busy job of teaching on only the eighth day of classes for our online school. But legally we had to send them today.  The good news is that all observations are “on hold” until we return to some version of normal.  There is no way that appraisals could be helpful, when all our teachers, both in “bricks and mortar” and “online” schools are having to take on so many new ways of teaching.

I am hoping that this doesn’t completely remove feedback and support  from this school year.  I have always found the appraisal process to be a positive experience: validating great practices, mentoring teachers, and encouraging innovation and leadership. I hope that once we settle into more of a routine our teachers will invite me to visit their classrooms, to share how they are creating new learning processes, and developing a supportive learning environment.

If you are one of those who received a notice, and are concerned, please reach out to me.  It’s more likely a glitch in the process, so let’s get it fixed!

Tomorrow is Friday. It’s been the first full week.  Please plan some time for yourself this weekend. We know that you have worked harder this fall than you ever have in your teaching career!

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