Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should require annual evaluations with frequent observations of all principals. This goal was new in 2017.
Evaluation Frequency: Montana requires that nontenured principals are evaluated annually. However, tenured principals must only be evaluated "according to a regular schedule adopted by the district."
Observation/Site Visit Requirements: Montana does not articulate any requirements regarding the number of times a principal is observed.
Evaluator Training: Montana does not include any training requirements in state policy.
Administrative Rules of Montana 10.55.701 Montana Code Annotated 20-4-401
Require annual formal evaluations for all principals.
All principals in Montana should be evaluated annually. Rather than treated as mere formalities, these principal evaluations should serve as important tools for rewarding good principals, helping average principals improve, and holding weak principals accountable for poor performance.
Require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
To ensure that annual evaluations are based on adequate information, Montana should require multiple observations/site visits for all principals.
Require all principal evaluators to be both trained and certified.
All principal evaluators in Montana should be trained and certified to conduct teacher evaluations on systems that include objective measures. Ensuring that all principals are appropriately trained and certified in conducting teacher evaluations will help ensure that all principals are able to provide their teachers with fair and valid evaluations.
Montana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
7H: Principal Evaluation and Observation
Research demonstrates that there is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Principals foster school improvement by shaping school goals, policies and practices, and social and organizational structures. Principals vary significantly in their effectiveness, and research suggests that high-quality principals positively affect student achievement, in-school discipline, parents' perceptions of schools, and school climates. Further, principals affect teacher retention and recruitment; effective principals are more adept at retaining effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers. The time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on teachers and students. Because principals are an essential component of creating successful schools, their effectiveness should be regularly evaluated by trained evaluators on systems that include objective measures. Such systems will help to ensure that all principals receive the feedback and support necessary to improve their practice and, ultimately, student and school outcomes.