Milford ready to teach its teachers

By Monique Scott, Milford Daily News

MILFORD – Milford educators will face some schooling of their own this fall as the state implements a new system for evaluating teachers.

“Every district comes with a different understanding, but training is the name of the game,” said Superintendent Robert Tremblay.

“It’s all about process and procedure and Milford is on board.”

The evaluation system, passed by the state Legislature in June, gives greater weight to assessments of teacher performance when it comes to promotion and pay. The law was a compromise among lawmakers, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and Stand for Children to avoid a ballot initiative vote in November.

The legislation requires teachers and administrators to be trained for the new evaluation system.

Tremblay said teachers in the Milford are excited about the new changes. He plans to conduct training for all teachers to ensure they welcome the new evaluation system.

But state teachers union officials are not pleased with the training requirements, telling a meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last week that the minimum requirement of four hours of training for teachers was inadequate.

¨The union had sought 12 hours of training.
”Four hours is completely inadequate to accomplish the task,” Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, told board members.

The board’s conversation about teacher evaluations included relatively good news about one of the chief measures for teachers, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exams.

State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester noted that this year’s MCAS scores reached the highest average in the history of the exam.

According to the Department of Education and statewide results, this past spring, 552,549 public school students in grades 3 through 10 participated in the 15th administration of the test.

Compared to 2008-2011 statewide results, students in nearly all grades showed improvement with the exception of fifth grade. In total, 57 percent of the fourth grade students this year scored proficient or higher in English language arts, and 88 percent for 10th graders.

In the math portion, students, with the exception of third grade, showed improvement in scores, with 51 percent scoring proficient or higher in fourth grade and seventh grade, increasing to a high of 78 percent at 10th grade.

Chester said he looks forward to even better results in future MCAS exams.

“Clearly there is much work to do and a lot more students need help, but we made good progress,” he said.

The Milford system fell just short of the 75 percent target of proficiency on this year’s MCAS exams.

Tremblay said data from the test will help teachers and administrators improve future scores and help set standards for teacher evaluations.â

“The results give teachers a better understanding as to how to move forward,” he said.

Link to the original article: http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/education/x264121914/Milford-ready-to-teach-its-teachers

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