HCSS Teacher Evaluation

Our school’s mission statement:

The Hampden Charter School of Science is a top-ranking tuition-free college preparatory school founded in 2009. The mission of the HCSS is to provide a college preparatory-focused education to the youth of every race and ethnic group in Western Massachusetts in a safe, academically challenging, and caring educational environment. Our core values are respect, responsibility, resilience, and excellence.

Why do we evaluate teachers?

In ensuring our mission statement, HCSS holds our teachers to a higher standard, and to achieve this standard we evaluate teachers using a teacher evaluation system. Our system is modeled after the Danielson Model of Teacher Evaluation, in combination with our in-house student achievement goals. Evaluation helps to ensure rigorous delivery of instruction, and in turn promotes Student Achievement

HCSS is a learning community not just for students but also for staff. Frequent feedback and evaluation for teachers helps them to build upon and improve their pedagogy. Evaluation keeps the school as a whole accountable to the state.

Danielson Model:

At HCSS we use the Danielson Model Framework for Teaching to evaluate our teachers in four key domains. (https://danielsongroup.org/)

  • Domain I: Planning and Preparation
    • What it means: Teachers’ plans and practice reflect extensive knowledge of the content and the structure of the discipline and instructional outcomes reflect high-level learning.
    • What it looks like at HCSS:
      • Lesson Plans are due every Monday morning for the week and are reviewed for content, clarity, and rigor
      • Canvas is our Learning Management System which allows teachers to post high-quality content and rigorous assignments for students in real time.
    • How it connects to Student Achievement overall:
      • Teachers use backwards design to create units and daily lesson plans with the end goal of students being able to be successful in their final exams
      • Teachers use data from previous assessments to drive their planning
  • Domain II: The Classroom Environment
    • What it means: The classroom is a place where learning is valued, high expectations are the norm, and teacher-student interactions demonstrate caring and respect. The classroom environment is safe, and learning is accessible to all students, including those with special needs.
    • What it looks like at HCSS:
      • Teachers are following established procedures for behavior management that ensure a safe and welcoming learning environment
      • The classroom is characterized as a cognitively busy place. Students take academic risks and the teacher pushes them to their highest potential in a safe and respectful environment.
    • How it connects to Student achievement:
      • A classroom conducive to learning will benefit all students and help them succeed academically.
  • Domain III: Instruction
    • What it means: Students are engaged in activities that are appropriate for the instructional outcomes and students’ level of understanding. The structure and pacing of the lesson allows for student reflection and closure.
    • What it looks like at HCSS:
      • Instruction is delivered using a Gradual Release Model. Class begins with a Do Now to warm-up student minds. Then the teacher presents an “I do” modeling and the class then practices together with a “We do”, before students then show learning on their own with a “You do”. Class wraps up with a Closure to assess student understanding of the Objective of the day.
      • HCSS holds discussion to be a valuable tool for both learning academically and socially. Accountable Talk discussions are an important part of the weekly lesson.
      • Teachers use frequent checks for understanding throughout class. These are both formal and informal ways to see that students are grasping concepts.
    • How it connects to Student Achievement:
      • Teachers use data-driven instruction.
      • Teachers give mini-assessments throughout the quarter, then review the mini-assessments in class to assess student understanding
  • Domain IV: Professional Responsibilities
    • What it means: Teachers complete all contractual duties with professionalism and diligence. Teachers’ interactions with colleagues are positive and appropriate.
    • What it looks like at HCSS:
      • Submitting required items like Lesson Plans in a timely manner
      • Grading accurately and in a timely manner
      • Parent Communication and Family Outreach
      • Overall Professionalism
    • How it connects to Student Achievement:
      • Teachers being active participants in in the School Community increases the rapport among students in the classroom, contributing to student achievement
      • Teachers being able to reflect on feedback allows for them to grow professionally in and out of the classroom

Student Achievement at HCSS:

In combination with the Danielson Model Framework, at HCSS we also take a deep look into Student Achievement as part of teacher evaluation.

At the beginning of every school year the Academic Team will analyze past years’ data to determine a Student Learning Goal (SLG) for each teacher. The purpose of the SLG is to set a learning target for students to help them be successful in the current school year. For MCAS, AP, and SAT subject areas these goals will directly correlate with past years state and global scores. For other courses, goals are set based on individual courses, curriculum, and students.

Student Achievement is constantly looked at throughout the year, but is formally reviewed at Mid-Year and End of Year for Evaluation purposes. Each quarter, teachers will analyze their mini-assessment and Quarter Final data to create Action Plans. These action plans help teachers create tutoring groups, and set quarterly goals for students who may be struggling to meet grade level standards. Department Heads and Curriculum Supervisors review Action Plans and meet with teachers throughout the year to track progress on Student Achievement.

Evaluation Implementation:

At HCSS, the Curriculum Supervisors (CS) are responsible for Evaluation criteria and monitoring staff progress. The CS’ frequently review lesson plans and complete walkthroughs and observations of teachers. Teachers are then sent feedback based on the Danielson Rubric. These checks happen frequently, with every teacher receiving at least four lesson plan checks, several walkthroughs, and one full period Observation per quarter. Based on these checks, the Chief Academic Officer and the Chief Executive Officer issue formal evaluation results twice in the year, at Mid-Year and at End of Year. Final Evaluations are a final combination of all four Danielson Domains along with Student Achievement. A final EOY meeting may take place to discuss areas for improvement for the following year. Final Evaluation data determines salary for the following school year for each teacher. It also helps to set teacher Student Achievement goals for the next year, and allows Central Office to determine goals and needs for the next school year, including setting Instructional Coach groups. While the Final Evaluation wraps-up one school year, it sets the tone for starting the next school year with goals in place.