In the Minneapolis Public Schools, we have one clear and unambiguous priority: great learning in great schools. Teachers are the foundation of our success as a school district. When teachers succeed, our students succeed. That is why MPS is committed to making sure teachers get the support they need to do their best work.
In Minneapolis, we are proving that establishing a comprehensive teacher evaluation system does not have to be divisive. MPS and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers are tackling this challenge with a collaborative spirit, just as we have done on so many other important issues in recent years. The MPS system is being developed based on feedback from over 900 teachers and principals from across MPS, with a simple goal in mind: to provide teachers with useful feedback and targeted professional development. This system will help us celebrate successes, share what works and find ways to improve where needed.
If we want all our students to graduate from MPS on track for college or a successful career, we need to focus on a single goal: great teaching in every classroom, for every student, every day. We aim to strengthen our entire teaching and learning framework by:
MPS is leading the state when it comes to collaboratively designing an evaluation system that gives educators regular, meaningful feedback on job performance. We decided as a school district not to wait for a state mandate on teacher evaluations. All school districts in Minnesota will be required to implement teacher evaluation systems by 2014. Our work started almost two years ago and has included teachers and principals in the process from the beginning.
We are also working cooperatively with teachers to implement our other educational reform priority – Focused Instruction. Most of the main features of Focused Instruction were suggested by educators who work with our students on a daily basis. Teachers from across the school district worked together with administrators to write curriculum guides and benchmark assessments for math, literacy, science, arts, physical education and social studies.
As we continue to move forward with innovative ideas designed to close the achievement gap, MPS remains committed to working alongside teachers to make the necessary system changes that will benefit our students.