Hi! I’m Amy Zilbar and as a veteran elementary school principal, evaluation is a large part of my role as the instructional leader of the school. In my post, I will touch on some of the things that I value as a leader that I hope will shed some light on how education evaluators can work with local agencies in a collaborative fashion. I enjoy collaborating with teachers and looking at ways to improve instruction in order to reach every student. What I often find as principal is that no matter how collaborative I want to be, the “principal hat” is always on. However, my two key learnings have been:
- People, people, people
- What is your vision (your “why”)
People, people, people
In any organization, getting to know the people, their strengths, and the things they enjoy allows you to see things through many lenses and this helps move the organization forward. I work in a school with an amazing community of educators, students, and parents where we solve problems collectively through problem solving protocols and build personal connections. Taking time to recognize and appreciate their contributions is important because they ARE valued.
What is your vision?
This is at the forefront of many educational leadership research and resources.
Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last” and “Start With Why.” The first step for any supervisor is to clearly AND frequently communicate their why. It drives every decision and every system aligns to it. Our why is simple and was created together: “Guide Learners to Success.” It is what we do every day and we all work to ensure that each and every student is successful. Teachers are also learners and we want to be successful teachers that inspire and engage students everyday
Even though a supervisor will always be the supervisor, to be a true collaborative thought partner, you need relationships and a clear why.
How feedback and suggestions are received during evaluations depend on the relationships that have been established and that everyone knows your why. During the last 14 years as the official and final evaluator of teachers, I have learned that evaluation is only one component.
“Thanks for the Feedback” by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. They share three forms of feedback:
It would not be sufficient to offer teachers feedback once a year during their formal evaluation. Both myself and our assistant principal provides specific, appreciative feedback each week, so every teacher knows what we saw that was powerful to student learning and why it is appreciated.
A formal evaluation may only happen once a year, but it is not just a score, it is a reflection on the feedback, practice, and impact throughout the year. It provides reciprocal feedback to the evaluator on what tweaks might be needed. It is a true partnership and can be a positive and collaborative experience for both!
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Ed Eval TIG Week with our colleagues in the PreK-12 Educational Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our Ed Eval TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.