Lonoke Public Schools is experiencing change in how teachers and administrators will be evaluated in the near future. Currently, the middle school is piloting the Arkansas Teacher Excellence Support System (TESS) ACT 1209 of 2011 with some of the teaching staff.

Jeannie Holt and Rosalynd Kelleybrew have received training through the Arkansas Department of Education to conduct TESS evaluations. They had to attend many hours of training, pass a lengthy exam, and are still involved in this training process.

According to the Arkansas Annotated Code Section 6-17-2802, the Arkansas General Assembly had the following objectives for TESS:

• To provide school districts a consistent teacher evaluation system that ensures teaching and promotes professional learning

• To provide feedback and encourage teachers to improve their knowledge and instructional skills to improve student learning

• To provide a basis for making teacher employment decisions

• To provide an integrated system that links evaluation procedures with curricular standards, professional development activities, targeted support and human capitol decisions

• To provide encouragement to teachers to accept challenging assignments

• To provide awareness to parents and guardians of students concerning the effectiveness of teachers

• To provide information to policymakers regarding the benefits of a consistent evaluation and support system to improve student learning and achievement across the state

The remainder of the Lonoke administrators and superintendent will receive training in TESS in January. They will practice using the TESS evaluation system, pass the exam in order to evaluate teachers effectively and the superintendent will in the future participate in the principal evaluation training. During the summer of 2013, all licensed teaching and administrative members will receive at least 24 training hours in TESS. Lonoke Schools will pilot TESS in the 2013-14 SY across the district. All licensed faculty members will be evaluated using the TESS during the 2014-15 SY with full implementation. We are excited about this new evaluation system that will help us to support our teaching and administrative faculty in this process as they reflect on their practice, examine the learning of their students, become more skilled in identifying areas for growth, and participate in dialogue with peers and evaluators. This system will also help administrators to recognize those teachers that are constantly moving toward excellence by preparing students for college and career readiness.

Information for this article was take from the Arkansas Department of Education.