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Improving teacher effectiveness is the most important part of a principal’s job

JAMES VAZNIS’S article, “Evaluating teachers may burden principals; State nears new requirements’’ (Page A1, June 27) correctly points out that the state’s new teacher evaluation process will be more time-consuming for principals. However, it’s wrong to think of that as a “burden.’’ The research is very clear: teaching effectiveness is critical to increased student achievement. If the primary goal of our schools is to make sure children are learning, then working closely with teachers to improve should be the most important aspect of a principal’s job.

In most high-performing schools we’ve studied, principals are in and out of classrooms all day, observing teachers and providing real time feedback. The formal evaluation process is only one component of this continuous improvement process.

The questions we should be asking are: What are the other tasks and responsibilities that are burdening principals? What do we need to take off their plate so they can devote more time to improving teaching effectiveness? New technologies are available that can help. In addition, central office roles and responsibilities should be rethought to provide more time for principals to undertake teacher evaluations and other tasks. It certainly is not easy, but we simply don’t have a choice.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.

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