Person climbing, building momentum

The beginning of the semester is a good time to check on your goals and reignite momentum toward your school initiatives.

So, we want to know: How are you doing with your NEE teacher evaluation goals and how can we support you?

In this blog, we offer encouragement and strategies to keep up the momentum toward your goals this school year.

First, Remember Your WHY

To get re-energized, you have to think about the “why.” We are channeling Simon Sinek here: Start With Why to inspire both yourself and others in achieving your goals.

When it comes to evaluation, what is the “why”? The answer isn’t difficult to find.

Effective educators have a significant impact on student achievement. As educators, there’s no stronger why than making an impact on student learning.

Quality teaching helps students learn and achieve more. Evaluation, paired with good feedback, is a tool that helps you develop and support quality teaching.

Once you have reconnected with the why in your mind, make sure everyone else understands the why.

Next, Think About HOW

How you approach evaluation is important, too.

Evaluation can make educators nervous, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

NEE is structured as a system to support and encourage quality teaching. It’s not meant to be punitive.

The point is not to show that some teachers are “bad” but to coach and grow teachers to their fullest potential.

NEE is a growth system. It is aligned with research-based best practices for evaluation that supports and grows quality teachers. Effective evaluation involves being in the classroom often, providing regular feedback, and offering meaningful PD resources.

NEE teacher evaluations represent a shift in how teacher evaluations traditionally have been approached. It takes a shift in mentality – for everyone – to realize that evaluations aren’t meant to “get” or “catch” educators. They’re meant to grow and coach educators.

This shift in mentality won’t happen overnight. If you want support in building awareness about NEE in your school, contact your NEE field support representative. Especially if you’re new to NEE, a faculty introduction session may help facilitate understanding and acceptance around the evaluation model.

Teacher evaluation is important work. It’s meaningful. And when implemented correctly, it makes a difference in students’ lives.

Don’t lose sight of the why and the how.

Consider a Reset

Hopefully, you’re feeling a bit more energized already. Now, let’s re-examine those goals.

If you feel overwhelmed by the big goals you set at the start of the year, make your goals achievable again. You might not be able to do everything, but you can do something.

You might also consider a relaunch of the initiative to build energy around it. A good launch is important to achieving your evaluation goals.

Take some time to have an honest discussion with individuals, small groups, or the entire faculty. Talk openly about the why and the how behind evaluation. Rally support through transparency and working together to come up with a game plan in your school.

Hit the reset or the relaunch button if you need to. It’s important to make sure there’s good energy around your goals as you move forward.

State your Goals

Writing down your goals means you are more likely to achieve them. Even better? Telling someone your goals.

In fact, it’s good practice to include teachers in the evaluation goals you set.

Making everyone aware of your goals not only increases your accountability, it also ensures everyone is on the same page. Teachers need to know what to expect from you. Make sure they know how often you plan to be in their classrooms, which instructional strategies you will be evaluating (share the rubrics), and what they can expect from you after an evaluation (a face-to-face feedback conversation is best).

Embrace transparency.

Celebrate Small Wins

Momentum is a series of small wins.

Your big goals should include milestones along the way. Celebrate them as you go so you continue to build momentum. Now that you’ve shared your goals with others, let them know when you’ve reached your milestones and celebrate them together.

Here are ten behaviors that Dan Rockwell, author of The Leadership Freak blog, says can fuel momentum:

  • Monitor and fuel energy levels. Keep the energy high. Success requires people who feel energized about the work they’re doing. As the leader, energy starts with you.
  • Invite other administrators to offer praise to teachers. Encourage celebrations about the things that are going well.
  • Define each day’s win.
  • Celebrate each day’s win.
  • Creative positive surprises.
  • Don’t punctuate compliments with suggestions.
  • Get your hands dirty. You have to be willing to do the work you’re asking of others.
  • Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
  • Believe in people.
  • Expect people to step up.

Stay the Course

Change can be hard, but don’t give up.

When you know the work you’re doing is meaningful, it’s easier to keep pushing forward.

Remember your why and how:

When implemented correctly, educator evaluation makes a difference for students.

Keep going. You got this.

And if you need any help along the way, please let us know how we can support you.

The Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE) is a simple yet powerful comprehensive system for educator evaluation that helps educators grow, students learn, and schools improve. Developed by preK-12 practitioners and experts at the University of Missouri, NEE brings together classroom observation, student feedback, teacher curriculum planning, and professional development as measures of effectiveness in a secure online portal designed to promote educator growth and development.