DONALDSONVILLE — Teachers in Ascension Parish are preparing to undergo a new evaluation program.
Steve Westbrook, assistant superintendent of instruction and school turnaround for Ascension schools, explained to the School Board on Tuesday how the district is implementing a new statewide teacher evaluation system.
He described the new system as “very descriptive,” giving teachers more feedback than they have received in the past and administrators more information on how both their teachers and students are performing in the classroom.
“This process can produce so much better results than what we had before,” Westbrook said.
The evaluation is based half on observation from administrators or fellow teachers and half on value being added to students. That value is set either by mandatory testing or student learning targets that are determined by schools, Westbrook said.
“What we’re making sure we’re doing is holding ourselves to high standards,” he said.
“Philosophically, we believe we can all get better, all the time,” Superintendent Patrice Pujol said.
Other matters taken up by the board included:
TECHNOLOGY PROJECTS: The district is making progress on its two biggest technology improvements, said Jake Ragusa, technology director for Ascension schools.
Ragusa said teachers have begun “significant Apple training” as part of the district-wide iPad program for all sixth-
and ninth-graders in the parish.
In addition, he said, a management system is being installed on the iPads that will increase security and limit students from accessing certain applications and websites.
Ragusa also said students in Turnaround Zone schools — ones that are underperforming on school performance scores — have “hit the ground running” on the district’s “Fast ForWord” program.
Pujol said the new computer-based program is designed to “improve reading but not just by practicing reading.”
Instead, she said, it focuses on improving students’ cognitive processes that are essential to reading.
REVENUES UP: Diane Allison, the school district’s business manager, reported to the School Board that August was “another good month” with revenues being $1.2 million more than was budgeted.
She also said that sales tax collections were going “very, very well” with revenues of more than $4.3 million in July and August.
That amount was more than a 15 percent increase over the same time period last year.
The district had budgeted for a 2.5 percent increase, Allison said.