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State report aims to measure teacher effectiveness

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WINTERVILLE, N.C. - Evaluating your child's teacher – that’s the focus of a new state education report that uses things like test scores and teacher subject-knowledge to rank them.

The Department of Public Instruction finds nearly 80 percent of teachers across our state and in Pitt Count are helping students perform better on tests, otherwise known as meeting or exceeding expected growth.

“I think the quality of instruction in public classrooms, including in Pitt county, has been called into question over the past year or two, and it's good to have this data out there publicly so people can see the high quality of instruction that's going on inside Pitt County Schools,” says Brock Letchworth, public information officer.

Test scores are just part of DPI’s latest data on how effective our teachers are in the classroom. They're also evaluated on more subjective things like leadership, establishing an environment respectful of diversity, knowing the content they teach, facilitating learning for all students, and reflecting on their methods.

Administrators observe teachers several times a year, then provide feedback each time before giving them a final score.

"We want teachers to improve and I need to deploy all the resources that I can if I see that a teacher is struggling, to give them what they need to be successful, because ultimately we want the very best teacher in every single classroom,” explains Julie Cary, principal at South Central High School in Winterville.

Her feedback is something beginning teachers like Elyse Cannon say helps them improve.

"[Administrators] will tell me, ‘Hey you need to think about this student over here, or reevaluate that method,’” explains Cannon, who teachers World History and Psychology. “’You might want to refine that a little bit. Or maybe your students didn't understand that, you might want to try it a different way.’ And that helps me as a teacher with my classroom management, as well as teaching the content to students."
    
It seems to be working. DPI stats show more than 92 percent of teachers in Pitt County are considered "proficient" or higher in most evaluation standards.

Carteret, Craven and Lenoir County Schools all saw more than 98 percent of their teachers rank as proficient or higher on most standards, while Onslow County Schools had 93 percent or higher in most categories.

To see where your child’s district or individual school stacks up, click here.

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