The state should require annual evaluations of all teachers.
Commendably, all teachers in Florida must be evaluated at least annually.
Nonprobationary teachers are required to have a formal evaluation at least once a year. Newly-hired teachers in Florida must now be observed and evaluated at least twice in their first year of teaching. However, the state does not articulate when the first observation should occur.
SB 736, amending Florida Statute 1012.34
Base evaluations on multiple observations.
To guarantee that annual evaluations are based on an adequate collection of information, Florida should require multiple observations for all teachers. This is important for all probationary teachers, not just those in their first year of teaching, as well as teachers who have nonprobationary status.
Ensure that new teachers are observed and receive feedback early in the school year.
It is critical that schools and districts closely monitor the performance of new teachers. Florida should ensure that its new teachers get the support they need and that supervisors know early on which new teachers may be struggling or at risk for unacceptable levels of performance. As evaluation instruments become more data driven, it may not be feasible to issue a formal evaluation rating until applicable student data are available later in the year.
Florida asserted that teachers considered probationary, and therefore require a minimum of two evaluations, include all teachers "newly hired by the district"—not just those in their first year of teaching.