Chairman Gresham praises Education Commissioner’s efforts to get accurate information to teachers regarding evaluation process

(NASHVILLE, TN), September 26, 2011 – Tennessee Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) today praised the efforts of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to get accurate information to teachers, principals, and superintendents regarding the state’s new teacher evaluation system called TEAM (Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model).  Gresham said the Department is working very hard to clear up any misinformation regarding the new process by directly communicating with educators about the TEAM system.

Reforming the state’s teacher evaluation process was a critical part of Tennessee’s receiving $500 million in federal Race to the Top funds which was based on four pillars:  enhancing standards and assessments, improving the collection and use of data, increasing teacher effectiveness, and turning around struggling schools.  The changes to the evaluation system were made during a Special Session of the Legislature called by former Governor Phil Bredesen and approved by the Legislature in January 2010.

“Commissioner Huffman has contacted all teachers regarding this important issue so that they are clear that the evaluation process is a critical foundation to improve student achievement and that it will be in effect during the 2011-12 school year,” said Chairman Gresham.  “The new evaluation process was designed by teachers and other education practitioners who were integral in constructing the evaluative tools.  As with any new evaluation system, there will be room for improvement as we move into the implementation stage.  The current system, however, remains a strong part of our new Race to the Top evaluative standards during the current school year as reiterated to our education community by the Commissioner.”  

Commissioner Huffman produced a video on the new evaluation system which is linked on the Department of Education’s website at:   He also sent a communication to all Tennessee teachers regarding the background for the new standards, the goals of the program, guidance on how teachers will be scored, and the Department’s plans for the system in the future. 

“This is challenging new system which is a critical part in moving Tennessee students forward in educational attainment,” added Gresham   “I appreciate the efforts of Commissioner Huffman, our incredible teachers, and other education officials in learning to use and learn from the new system for the benefit of Tennessee’s 950,000 public school students.”

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