360 Degree Teacher Evaluations

An interesting perspective came up during Rocks or Sucks at #EdcampJoplin. The topic was student surveys for teacher evaluation. Do you think surveying students, and including the information in teacher evaluations rocks or sucks? More people than you or I would imagine chose that it "rocks." A few were on the fence and had pros and cons. Of course there were a few that thought it was a TERRIBLE idea.

The gentleman standing next to me, I completely apologize for not knowing his name, said that he would like to have a 360 degree evaluation. He wants principal input, student input, parent input, AND co-worker input. I love this idea! He didn't think is entire lively-hood should rest in the hands of one person. I agree!

As a principal I think I have a pretty good pulse on my teachers and what's going in their classrooms. I try to be in classrooms all the time. But there have been times I have been caught off guard and not known about something that other teachers have known about.

As a student, how many of you have taken graduate/college courses and evaluated your teachers? Have you been honest? Have you heard if the teacher has changed/improved over time? If my honest feedback is helpful for that professor then the purpose has been accomplished.

As a parent, I have been fortunate that my children attend my school so I actually know exactly what is going on. I would put my children in any classroom in my building. But.....if my feedback helps a teacher improve then heck yes I want to help them. When I was a teacher I did something that new teachers do that was really stupid. I look back and wish my principal would have told me and had an honest conversation with me. But he/she didn't.  Had I known at the time I would have fixed it and handled the lesson differently. Instead, I did the same dumb thing 3 years in a row until I observed it handled another way.

As a colleague, I would LOVE to hear what other principals think. Especially what I am doing well of course:) I bet the other 4 principals in my district see things in me and my leadership that I could tweak a little.

Having said all of this....... I do realize that it takes a great deal of trust to pull this off. I believe there needs to be an extremely high level of transparency. You have to know from the beginning that this is how you will be evaluated. We aren't doing anyone any favors by sugar coating everything.

What are your thoughts about 360 degree evaluations???

Digital Badges Ideas

Yesterday we had a great discussion about digital badges in a session at #EdcampJoplin. I have been hearing about these badges for a few years but wasn't sure how to implement them. So I started with the kids.

Below are some of the badges I created in openbadges.me. This is one of the free services that I found that you don't even have to sign up for. I may have entered my email in the beginning but don't remember.

For joining my Google Classroom
Teachers will decide for this one

Still working on the workflow for this process. Since I am the principal I had to figure out a way to communicate with the kids without interrupting class all the time. So I created a Google Classroom called "4th Grade Challenges." Since the teachers are using Google Classroom they can just check my class when they log in in the morning.

When the kids finish the task I share the badge with them in our Google Apps account. This is a bit tricky since we do not have email set up for K-4. I have to email or tell the teacher to have the student check their account. The badge images are getting lost in their account.

Displaying badges: Eventually the kids will have sites or blogs they can display their badge. Right now on of my teachers created a google slide to display all their badges. I can save the slide with the badges as an image and display all the kids slides on the TV in the hallway.

Next steps/ideas:
  • Decide on 10-15 badges to start with for the year.
  • Try Classbadges.com 
  • Have students come up with ideas on how to earn badges.
  • Have students create badges.
  • Improve workflow - maybe a form for teachers to fill out or students to fill out once they have finished their project to earn a badge.
  • Check out some of Shake Up Learnings ideas here.
Some of the school management software programs have badges built it. If you are using Canvas, Schoology, Edmodo, etc. check for the badges feature.

Read Across America YouTube Playlist

Credit to my good friend +Jessica Johnson aka @PrincipalJ for this idea. Last week she was tweeting some super fun videos to use during Read Across America week. Better late than never to post this playlist.

Missouri Principal's Day - #moedchat

Please share with your staff! MAESP sent the following information regarding Principal's Day in Missouri. (I don't think it matters what day you celebrate;)

For 27 years Missouri elementary school principals have celebrated “Elementary School Principals’ Day.” In many of those years Governors have made proclamations, PTA’s have organized events, teachers have recognized leaders, and students have celebrated principals in unusual ways for the impact a principal can have on the culture of a school community!
The first Elementary School Principals’ Day was designated in late May in 1988 after many rural schools had dismissed for the year. It was later decided that Missouri Elementary School Principals Day would be changed to the first Wednesday in March immediately prior to the MAESP Annual Conference.
In 1992 it became Missouri School Principals Day when the Missouri Association of Secondary Principals (MASSP) joined MAESP in encouraging the recognition of all principals throughout the state.  The purpose of the proclamation and recognition has always been to encourage students, parents, board members, staff and patrons to focus on the importance of quality leadership at the building level and raise the visibility of school principals.
These past couple of years the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of secondary School principals (NASSP), collaborated to recognize the great work of school principals by declaring October as National School Principals Month. Having the celebration in October aligns with the national recognition programs of each organization. Even though MAESP and MASSP have made the commitment to align our Missouri Principal recognitions with NAESP and NASSP, I know many of your schools and communities will continue to celebrate your good work this next week!
Schools have honored principals in various ways throughout the years…  dress like the principal days, candle lights in the cafeteria for “candle light lunch”, donations to a charity in the principals' names, surprise school assemblies, special edition school newsletters, notes of appreciation, and/or flowers. With that in mind, know that MAESP will continue to accept stories and pictures to publicize celebrations of school principals and the good work you do every day!
From the MAESP Executive Board and myself – A GREAT BIG THANKS for all you do for your school community, a profession we all love, and the children whose lives you impact on a daily basis!
Happy Principals’ Day – today and every day!