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Evaluation and Appraisal Reminders

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Administrators should engage teachers and other employees in the evaluation process as soon as the school year begins to ensure employees are aware of performance expectations.

By beginning the appraisal and evaluation process early, administrators and supervisors can provide training and support if concerns arise. The performance feedback process should be ongoing throughout the school year to ensure all employees are meeting performance targets and goals.

Teacher Appraisal Process

In Texas, schools are required to implement T-TESS or a locally adopted system for teacher appraisals which provides a specific framework and timelines to evaluate teacher performance. The following steps reflect yearly T-TESS requirements:

  • Orientation:  Schools must provide orientation for all teachers. A review can be provided for returning teachers, and an official orientation to T-TESS requirements should be provided to all teachers new to the district.
  • Goal setting: The goal setting and professional development (GSPD) plan is integral to the teacher appraisal process. For returning teachers, discussion of the GSPD plan occurs at the prior year’s summative conference. For teachers new to the district, the GSPD plan must be submitted within the six weeks after T-TESS orientation.
  • Observations: Observations with meaningful feedback should occur frequently for all teachers throughout the school year. All observations require a written summary, and formal or scored observations require both pre- and post-conferences with the teacher. Observations can be either coaching or formal observations. The frequency and type of observations conducted is typically dictated by district procedures.
  • End-of-year conference: The conference must be held in person and a written summary provided to the teacher no later than 15 working days prior to the final day of instruction. Discussion of next year’s GPSD plan should occur at this conference.

The T-TESS appraisal framework and timelines are vital to implementing the process with fidelity. School entities should implement the appraisal process annually in alignment with 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 150 and locally developed polices.

Principals and other appraisers must strictly adhere to the district’s appraisal calendar for orientation, developing the GSPD, completing observations and walkthroughs, sharing data collected with a teacher, and holding the end-of-year conference. Failure of a campus administrator to complete the appraisal process by the time designated on the appraisal calendar may be “good cause” for termination of the administrator’s contract

A new appraiser may find managing their appraisal load challenging. Waiting until the end of the appraisal cycle to complete the process may result in scheduling conflicts and rushing through the process. Scheduling appraisals throughout the year will help alleviate these problems. New teachers should be allowed time to acclimate to the classroom prior to the first appraisal. An experienced, struggling teacher should be appraised at the beginning of the cycle to allow time to work on developmental activities.

Campus Administrator Appraisal Process

Campus administrators should be evaluated annually using the commissioner’s recommended principal appraisal system, the Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS), or a locally approved alternative principal appraisal system. Again, timelines for orientation, goal setting, sharing data, and holding conferences should be followed according to the district’s T-PESS appraisal calendar.

It is important to note district funds may not be used to pay an administrator who hasn’t been appraised in the preceding 15 months as per Texas Education Code (TEC) §21.354(d).

Other Employees

All other employees should be evaluated according to district policy and procedures. Most employers require all employees be appraised at least annually, and many employers have a detailed evaluation process for employees other than teachers and campus administrators.

Best practice recommends implementing a performance evaluation system for employees that includes formal and formative conferences to discuss feedback on job performance. Supervisors can use the process to inform employees of deficiencies, and conferences can also be a time when employees are recognized for their hard work and contributions to the organization.

Both the formal and formative conferences should be documented. A formal evaluation report should be provided to employees at the end of the year.  School districts should evaluate current practices to ensure an evaluation is in place for all employees.

Documentation

For the evaluation process, documentation includes observations with written feedback, informal counseling, directives, and a summary of individual conferences. Although most documentation will remain at the campus or department level, the summative appraisal or evaluation record, including rebuttals, should be placed in each employee’s physical or electronic personnel file.

Documentation will be key to supporting any employment decisions the district will make for employees. Strong evaluation documentation is necessary when making employment decisions for contract employees.

If an employee has a complaint regarding an evaluation or appraisal, the individual should follow board policy DGBA regarding complaints and grievances.

Resources

The Administrator’s Guide to Managing Employee Performance is a valuable resource which provides guidance for supervisors on how to effectively use the evaluation process to successfully manage and improve employee performance. This guide can be purchased in the TASB store.

A multitude of sample evaluation forms, including a sample self-appraisal form, are available. Search for employee performance in the HR Library (member login required). It is common to include a section on the evaluation form for general skills that are expected from all employees and a specialized skills section specific to the job.

Additional resources for the T-TESS appraisal process can be found on the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) T-TESS website. For campus administrators appraised through T-PESS, more information can be found on TEA’s T-PESS website.

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Jennifer Barton
Jennifer Barton
HR and Compensation Consultant

Jennifer Barton joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with compensation planning and development, staffing reviews, training, and other HR projects. Prior to joining TASB, Barton served for 19 years in Texas public schools as a principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.

Barton earned master’s degrees in education and educational leadership from The University of Texas at Austin and Lamar University. She holds a Texas superintendent certificate and is a SHRM-CP.

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TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
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