Colorado Association of School Boards

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Educator Effectiveness (SB 191)

Welcome to CASB’s Educator Effectiveness resource page. Here you will find a one-stop shop for everything related to SB 191’s implementation. Please continue to check this webpage for updates regarding SB 191 from CASB’s member legal resources, policy and communications departments. Please send any comments, questions or page feedback to Wendy Meyer, CASB director of communications.

Overview of SB 191 and its implications for the 2014-15 school year

Senate Bill 10-191, frequently referred to as the Educator Effectiveness bill, is groundbreaking legislation passed by the state legislature in May 2010. SB 191 amended the “Licensed Personnel Performance Evaluation Act,” C.R.S. 22-9-101 et seq. (the Evaluation Act) and the “Teacher Employment, Compensation, and Dismissal Act of 1990,” C.R.S. 22-63-101 et seq. (TECDA).

SB 191’s changes to the Evaluation Act and TECDA impose new requirements for evaluating licensed personnel and alter a teacher’s ability to earn and maintain his or her status as a nonprobationary teacher. In doing so, SB 191 aims to improve the quality of evaluations as a means to improve the quality of education in Colorado and better provide students with the skills they need to be college and workforce ready.

SB 191 establishes a performance evaluation system that measures the “effectiveness” of licensed personnel based on quality standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE). In the 2013-14 school year, all Colorado school boards were required to implement an evaluation system for teachers and principals that aligned with the state’s teacher and principal quality standards and SBE rules. Most boards chose to adopt the state’s model evaluation system.

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, districts must also annually evaluate “specialized service professionals” (SSPs) in addition to principals and teachers. The term “SSP” includes licensed personnel such as audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, school counselors, school nurses, school orientation and mobility specialists, school psychologists, school social workers and speech and language pathologists. Evaluations of SSPs must be in accordance with the state’s SSP quality standards and SBE rules.

Under SB 191, a probationary teacher must have three consecutive years of demonstrated effectiveness to earn nonprobationary status. If a nonprobationary teacher is evaluated as ineffective for two consecutive years, that teacher loses nonprobationary status and becomes probationary. The 2013-14 school year was a “hold harmless” year that did not affect a teacher’s nonprobationary status. In the upcoming 2014-15 school year, ineffective and partially effective ratings will count toward the two consecutive years required to trigger the loss of a teacher’s nonprobationary status. Unlike teachers, the 2014-15 school year is a “hold harmless” year for those SSPs protected by TECDA because the upcoming school year represents the first year of implementation of SSP evaluations under SB 191.

Board Discretion with Weighting of Student Academic Growth

SB 191 specifically requires that at least 50 percent of teacher and principal evaluations be determined by the academic growth of students. Similarly, SBE rules implementing SB 191 require at least 50 percent of the SSP’s evaluation to be based on student learning outcomes. Due to 2014 state legislation amending the Evaluation Act, however, local boards of education have the discretion to determine how much weight (between 0 and 50%) student academic growth will have in licensed personnel evaluation ratings for the 2014-15 school year only. See, SB 14-165.

We encourage our members to move forward in making a decision regarding the weight to be given to student academic growth in the district’s evaluations of licensed personnel for the 2014-15 school year. To assist boards in this work, we developed a sample board resolution. Although a resolution is not legally required by SB 14-165, we thought it might provide a helpful framework for the board’s discussion of this issue.

We also encourage boards to confer with district administrators, principals, teachers, parents, and the district’s licensed personnel evaluation council (often referred to as the 1338 council) regarding SB 14-165 and the board’s decision about the weighting of student academic growth in evaluations. By doing so, the board ensures compliance with the Evaluation Act’s requirement to “consult” with such groups in developing and revising the district’s licensed personnel evaluation system. See, C.R.S. 22-9-106(1), 22-9-107.

Sample Board Resolution regarding Weighting of Student Academic Growth in Licensed Personnel Evaluations for 2014-15

Teacher Incentive Systems by August 1, 2014

As revised by SB 191, the Evaluation Act requires local boards of education to develop an incentive system on or before August 1, 2014 encouraging effective teachers in high performing schools to move to schools with low performance ratings. C.R.S. 22-9-106(8). The incentive system must be developed in collaboration with a local teacher’s association or, if no association exists, with teachers from the district. Because the Evaluation Act specifically requires that the incentive system encourage teachers to move from high performing schools to low performing schools, it is not clear if/how this requirement applies to districts that do not have any low performing schools and/or to rural districts with only one K-12 school.

As our members are well aware, significant financial and other resources are necessary to design and implement teacher incentive systems, which typically involve alternative compensation plans that reward teachers based on student performance and/or demonstrated leadership. A few Colorado districts are currently implementing alternative compensation or “pay for performance” plans, but the vast majority of districts do not currently have the resources or time necessary to design and implement teacher incentive systems.

We have discussed these concerns with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). CDE staff assured us that CDE will not penalize those districts that do not meet the August 1st statutory deadline. We appreciate this flexibility but understand that our members may be interested in exploring teacher incentive systems to help recruit and retain effective teachers. The following link discusses a few Colorado districts that are implementing alternative teacher compensation plans. We will add links as we identify new resources.

Alternative Compensation: Exploring Teacher Pay Reform in Colorado

CASB Legal and Policy Updates

We are currently revisiting the CASB sample evaluation policies to address SB 191’s requirement concerning the evaluation of SSPs beginning in 2014-15. We do not expect these revisions to be substantial and will provide these revisions to our membership as soon as possible.

We have previously provided our membership with the following legal and policy updates to address those provisions of SB 191 that are already effective.

Legal Update: February 21, 2014 - Nonrenewals

Special Policy Update: An August 2013 update explaining SB 10-191’s policy implications concerning the evaluation of licensed personnel.

Policy Parameters: A March 30, 2012 issue summarizing SB 10-191’s policy implications concerning teacher reductions in force, teacher displacement and mutual consent, and teacher and superintendent contracts.

Additional Resources