All Rhode Island school departments have the option to develop a district-specific teacher evaluation plan, but Coventry stands alone as the only town to submit a plan to the Rhode Island Department of Education.
Coventry's plan, given the go-ahead on Feb. 11, will identify the performance of teachers based on student test results and three different domains, some that are replicated from the current system. The domains include pedagogy (principles and methods of instruction), understanding of what they're teaching and how they teach it, and service to the school and community (how teachers interact with parents and colleagues). A committee made up of a five-person steering committee, a group of 15 teachers from different schools and grade levels and an advisory review committee of six created the evaluation plan.
The plan will contain incentives for high-quality teachers, but those incentives aren't fully worked out yet, according to Assistant Superintendent Jim Erinakes.
"We had the opportunity to write our own system based on (the department of education's) standards. We felt very strongly that we wanted a system that we would develop ourselves so that we would develop a sense of buy-in in our district," said Erinakes.
The plan will be piloted within the district this spring with four to six teachers who voluntarily agreed to participate and who will be held harmless. As stated by Superintendent Michael Convery, it will go into effect for building administrators during the next school year and for office administrators the year after that. A plan for guidance counselors and occupational therapists has not yet been designed.