Be Prepared for Your First Evaluation

Now that you have a brand new job and are ready to start the new year, what guarantees do you have that you will be asked to return next year? Under the new A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, teachers employed after July 1, 2000 will not earn continuing contract status, and will be subject to dismissal without an opportunity to a hearing or appeal. Teachers recommended for dismissal are entitled upon request to receive reasons for the recommendation; however, they are not afforded an opportunity to appeal the reasons. Notice of non-renewal must be given by April 15th and all personnel who have not received such notice are re-employed. A teacher who has continuing contract status as of July 1, 2000 retains that right.

According to guidelines of the Georgia Teacher Evaluation Program, all teachers must be observed in the classroom and evaluated every year. Beginning teachers will be observed in the classroom three times each year for a minimum of twenty minutes. After each observation, the teacher should receive an observation record report which describes the teacher's performance as seen by the administrator. In 1995, the State Department of Education began allowing local school districts to develop their own evaluation instrument to use in place of GTEP. While some districts have done, the majority still utilize the GTEP.

Under the new A+ Education Reform Act of 2000, all school districts must include seven minimum criteria as part of the annual summative evaluation of teachers. The seven criteria are: the role of the teacher in meeting the school/student achievement goals; observations by principals and assistant principals during the delivery of instruction and at other times as appropriate; participation in professional development and application of concepts learned; communication and interpersonal skills; timeliness and attendance; adherence to school and local system procedures and rules; and personal conduct while in the performance of school duties.

During the first week of pre-planning, new teachers should be given an orientation period to explain the evaluation process. Additionally, they should be given either the GTEP manual or a local manual which describes the process. If you do not receive either of these manuals, ask for one. The evaluation process is crucial for new teachers because it is really the only performance based protection that they have until they achieve due process rights. Your GAE local President or Field Representative can answer many of the questions about the evaluation process for you. Do not hesitate to call on them.