Teacher evaluation system tried out

A new state-mandated teacher evaluation system school districts must have in place by the next school year is being tried out this year in Salem.

Superintendent Tom Bratten explained the new evaluation system to board members recently, outlining the steps that have to be followed by principals and administrators when evaluating teachers.

“We’re trying to make it as efficient as possible,” he said.

Under the old evaluation system, he said they completed evaluations of teachers with limited contracts or one-year contracts two times per school year. Under a new law passed by the state legislature, districts have to evaluate every teacher in the district, using the state’s evaluation tools and system.

Bratten described the new system as a challenge because some buildings have a lot of teachers and only one principal to do all the observations and paperwork associated with the evaluation.

The Salem school district has more than 130 teachers spread throughout four buildings with six principals and three administrators who can do the evaluations. The idea is for the principals to evaluate the teachers in their buildings, but the administrators can help out when necessary.

Under the new system, there’s only one evaluation, but it’s based on two 30-minute observations, along with walkthroughs, pre and post conferences and a professional growth plan. The evaluation must include evidence to support the rating given to the teacher. The four possible ratings include accomplished, skilled, developing or ineffective.

Bratten said the state expects most teachers to fall into the skilled category, which is good. Board member Howard Rohleder commented that the state thinking is that it will be difficult to get a rating of accomplished. A rating of skilled at least leaves room for growth. Anyone who falls under developing will need to complete a plan of improvement.

Next year, value-added scores for students will become 50 percent of the rating, which Bratten said puts a lot of pressure on teachers. Teachers will be rated based on how well their students are doing. Teachers wanted to get used to the evaluation system this year before that’s added to the mix.

In personnel matters, the board: approved the resignation of high school cafeteria worker Diana Adams; hired Lanette Elasivich as a four-hour bus driver and Amy Johnson for print shop at the administration building; added transportation supervisor duties to Matt Freeman’s current contract in the amount of $11,250; compensated Dennis Niederhiser $750 for his final two weeks as transportation supervisor; increased bus driver Jill Maenz to four hours; hired Brian Madden, Sarah Nelson, Rebecca Pelliccioni and Andrea Keller as classified substitutes; hired Michelle McGovern, Cindy Sponsella, Arlene Barnett and Rachel Russo as substitute teachers; approved Yvonne Parks for senior high yearbook, Mike Kopachy for senior high newspaper and Ana Hutson for Spanish Club; added the Salem Forum to the duties of Tim Roller for $500 an issue, not to exceed two issues; approved Megan Gustaeval as athletic trainer for home events at a fee of $50 per event except for varsity football which is $125 per event; and approved workers for the state volleyball tournament.

The following athletic supplementals were approved:

– boys basketball, head coach Rich Hart, assistant coaches George Spack and Andy Smyczynski, jv coach Jake Zatchok, ninth grade Jeff Andres, eighth grade Logan Wartman, seventh grade Mike Maietta.

– girls basketball, ninth grade Glenn Windram, eighth grade Matt Ziegler, seventh grade Jay Lude, volunteer George Spack.

– wrestling, head coach Ken Beaumariage, assistant coach Sonn Hostetter, junior high head coach Bill Borelli, volunteer Shaun Winkler.

– swimming, volunteer head coach Caroline McDermott.

– boys track, head coach Todd Huda, assistant coaches Shane Harding and Robert Motz.

– girls track, head coach Amie Cochran, assistant coach Bill Neapolitan, volunteers Bill Angus and Jen Neapolitan.

– baseball, head coach Gary Martin, assistant coach Denny Niederhiser.

– softball, head coach Jodie Hippley, volunteer Buddy Wood.

In other business, the board approved allowing the treasurer to set up a termination benefits fund and transfer $250,0000 per fiscal year into the fund, not to exceed a balance of $500,000 at any period, to prepare for a possible influx of teacher retirements.

The board also approved the purchase of a property at 656 Franklin Avenue from Robert Gusman for $17,500. Bratten said the district has been buying properties in recent years within proximity to Reilly Stadium as means to expand parking. The board approved a four-year grant of profit contract to local farmer Charles Bricker & Son for two district-owned properties of 67 acres and 8 acres in Perry Township. The board collects rent of $3,500 per year for his use of the two properties for farming.

The board also: accepted donations of a trumpet by Becky Stone and a snare drum by Brian and Janice Shockey; approved an agreement with the Columbiana County Educational Service Center for paraeducator services; increased the charge per mile for bus transportation from $2 per mile to $3.59 per mile.