Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should meaningfully assess principal performance. This goal was new in 2017.
Objective Student Growth Measures: Vermont does not require that student growth play a role in principal evaluations. The state has outlined a Leader Evaluation Review Rubric, which is based on its guidelines. For a system to be rated effective under Vermont's rubric, the evaluation must include "a specific moment to look at student achievement metrics that pertain to that evaluatee." For a system to be highly effective, it must include "a systematic process for considering student achievement based on stakeholder input." It does not appear that these are requirements; however, these criteria indicate what is explicitly recommended by the state.
Link to Teacher Effectiveness/Instructional Leadership: Vermont state policy does not establish a link between principal evaluations and teacher effectiveness/instructional leadership. Sample indicators for the "Teaching and Learning" standard include: teacher retention rates, evidence of effective support for new teachers and those on improvement plans, and evidence of the fair and transparent application of teacher evaluations.
Improvement Plans: Vermont does not require improvement plans for ineffective principals but recommends such plans in its principal evaluation guidelines.
Surveys: Vermont explicitly allows staff, parent, and student surveys for the purposes of principal evaluation.
Require objective measures of student growth to play a role in principal evaluation ratings.
There is a clear link between school leadership and school outcomes. Therefore, Vermont should require principal evaluations to include objective measures of student growth. This will allow districts to more accurately identify effective principals, who are more adept at attracting and retaining effective teachers.
Make an explicit link between principal evaluation and teacher effectiveness/instructional leadership.
Because the time principals spend on organizational management, instructional programming, and teacher evaluation is critically important for positive effects on both teachers and students, Vermont should evaluate its principals—to some degree—on teacher effectiveness and instructional leadership.
Ensure that principals receiving less-than-effective ratings are placed on a professional improvement plan.
Vermont should adopt a policy requiring principals who receive even one less-than-effective evaluation rating to be placed on structured improvement plans. These plans should identify noted deficiencies, define specific action steps necessary to address these deficiencies, and describe how and when progress will be measured.
Vermont recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
7G: Principal Effectiveness
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.