Teachers, Like Students, Can Learn from Effective Evaluations

Throughout New York City public schools this week, teachers and engaged families came together to discuss students’ progress and academic standing. As a parent of a NYC public school student and a preschooler attending an early childhood program, I look forward to parent-teacher conferences as one of many vehicles that provides feedback on my children’s development, their strengths and weaknesses, and strategies I can employ at home to support their cognitive and social-emotional growth.

Truth is, however, that the information I received at this week’s parent-teacher conferences did not come as a surprise. In the ten plus weeks that school has been in session, I have had already numerous discussions with my children’s educators, and together, we have used a comprehensive approach to ensure we meet my children’s needs both in school and at home. As they grow older, I will also expect my children to use their grades as yet another measure that will provide feedback that reinforces their efforts and helps them identify areas where they can improve. Ongoing feedback and communication is key to positive educational outcomes!

I cannot help but draw parallels between such widely accepted practices as parent-teacher conferences and effective teacher-evaluation systems. Just as families are committed to supporting their children’s development, educators too are committed to the academic growth of their students. Such progress is only possible when all parties are equipped with the needed information on areas to hone in on and strengthen.

As a parent and former public school teacher, I fully appreciate the urgency of the matter. There is too much at stake. We must put all required systems in place to ensure that every classroom is led by an effective teacher, and that every teacher has the information she or he needs to perfect their craft. Our children deserve nothing less.

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