This is a challenging time for District 57. We continue to meet with the Mount Prospect Education Association, and we hope that an agreement that is in the best interest of all stakeholders will be reached in the days to come. In the meantime, the District continues to focus on giving students the best possible educational experience. This includes the important work of providing professional development for staff. That's what this week's Institute Day was all about.
Our teachers participated in an interactive training session provided by the Consortium for Education Change, covering topics such as what is good teaching, classroom environment, designing student engagement, and connecting planning and instruction. This training relates to the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), a new state law that changes the way teachers' and principals' performance is measured. PERA requires districts to negotiate new evaluation systems that assess skills and by school year 2016-2017 incorporates student growth. The goal is for expectations to be clear and for everyone -- those who are being reviewed and those who are doing the reviewing -- to understand what constitutes great teaching and what is required to receive an excellent rating.
Because of the impact of new evaluations, the state required extensive training for administrators on how to be a good evaluator. Last summer, our administrators who give reviews completed 40 hours of training on the new four-tiered rating system and the Framework for Teaching, the model that will be used to gauge teacher performance. The topics our teachers explored on the Institute Day related back to this training. They covered the "components of successful teaching practice." This will help improve skills and effectiveness in reaching students, and it will ensure that teachers and administrators have the same expectations and are speaking the same language when it comes to performance reviews.
The Framework for Teaching sessions were a great start. We will build on this teacher training next fall. Our Institute Day also had several valuable sessions for other staff members, including training on executive function skills for instructional assistants, an introduction to Chrome Books for LRC assistants, and information about neuro-developmental treatment in the school setting for occupational and physical therapists.
I thank all of our staff members for taking advantage of these developmental opportunities and for collaborating during this day of learning and growth.