As a Teachers College faculty member, you are invited to participate in an initiative to develop and teach 4-week online modules aimed at Indiana K-12 teachers who will be required to participate in a state-prescribed teacher evaluation system by 2014.
You are probably aware that Indiana Senate Bill 1, which was passed in 2011, has dramatically changed the way our state’s public teachers will be compensated in the future. Teachers earning master’s degrees are no longer guaranteed an automatic pay raise. Rather, pay raises will be merit-based. Teachers will be scored on their instructional effectiveness (which gets the most weight), planning skills, and leadership within their school.
As a follow-up to the passing of Senate Bill 1, the Indiana Department of Education has been pilot testing and unrolling its RISE Evaluation and Development System. School districts can choose to implement this system or implement their own evaluation system if it has received state approval. As part of this new approach to evaluations, if teachers are deemed to need improvement in certain areas, they will be required to seek professional development in those very specific areas. A graduate-level course which typically covers a wide variety of topics will no longer be what these teachers need most. Instead, they will need courses with a VERY focused concentration on a particular problem area, for example maximizing instructional time or using assessment data to plan. This is where the four-week online modules come in.
Preferences of Indiana Teachers
Last spring, Teachers College in conjunction with Eduventures, a higher education research and consulting firm, conducted a survey of Indiana teachers and administrators. With a confidence interval of +/- 3 percent, the survey found that Indiana educators are interested in RISE-related courses that are low in cost (91 percent), are online (64 percent), and are offered in a 2-4 week format (55 percent).
While we were not prepared to offer these preferred short-duration, highly focused online courses this summer, Ball State Teachers College was the first state institution to start addressing RISE and the needs of teachers and principals (the latter who will be required to conduct the teacher evaluations). Many of you assisted with offering summer 2012 courses that demonstrated an alignment with RISE. These offerings made up Phase 1 of our plans. We believe our efforts helped keep Ball State at “top of mind” with administrators and teachers as an important source in helping them implement RISE.
Beginning spring 2012, a Future of Graduate Education in Teachers College Task Force
met to develop a plan to address Indiana educators’ long-term needs, as well as how to make up the anticipated significant lost enrollments and revenues in our graduate programs if fewer Indiana educators seek master’s degrees. Task Force members and TC department chairs aligned current graduate level courses with content related to the Teacher Effectiveness Rubric used in the RISE Evaluation and Development System.
As a result, beginning this summer 2013, we will begin offering 4-week, online, non-credit modules. The plan is to have 38 total modules—one for each competency in domains 1 and 2 detailed in the RISE rubric. Plus, each competency should have two modules—one each for elementary or secondary educators.
PLEASE REVIEW the alignments that have been made and send any suggested revisions to your department chair by November 30, 2012. In early December, you will receive another communication regarding the process for participating in the module creation process.
Please contact Laurie Mullen with any questions.
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