Pursuant to A.C.A. § 6-17-2802 , the Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) provides direction for evaluation at all levels of instructional leadership. As per law, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) provides technical assistance to school districts for developing and implementing evaluation frameworks for administrators. Administrator evaluation parallels teacher evaluation in regards to ensuring valid and reliable measures for performance ratings and the weight of student performance and growth in these determinations.
Work on administrator evaluation began in 2009 when legislation was passed to create a system of leadership development. Act 222 of the 2009 Regular Session created the School Leadership Coordinating Council. The purpose of the Council was to serve as a central body to coordinate the leadership development system efforts across the state.
The School Leadership Coordinating Council worked with ADE to create a task force to create and recommend an evaluation system for principals; during the 2010-2011 school year, the task force worked with Dr. Connie Kamm, senior consultant with The Leadership and Learning Center. Based on the ISLLC standards, and other leadership systems, the group created a framework for a principal evaluation system. The framework included a 4-tier performance rating, rubrics and descriptors for each of the six standards. Professional growth plans and other resources were also created for the system.
The ADE sponsored a two-year pilot for the principal evaluation system with ten school districts during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. Dr. Kamm conducted the training for the principals and superintendents of the pilot districts. At the conclusion of the two-year pilot, the principal evaluation system was named theLeader Excellence and Development System (LEADS). ADE supported legislation in the 2013 legislative session to implement the principal evaluation system.
In the 2013-2014 school year, all districts were required to pilot LEADS with principals and assistant principals. All superintendents, assistant superintendents, and principals participated in a two-day training for the principal evaluation system during the summer of 2013. Assistant principals received training during the fall of 2013.
Additional work by administrators in other school and district positions served to create an evaluation system appropriate for positions other than principal and assistant principal. In addition to the LEADS principal rubric and the assistant principal rubric, a LEADS rubric for building/district leaders outlines the leadership expectations for administrators serving a school or district in additional leadership capacities. The State Board of Education approved Rules and Regulations for LEADS that expanded the work of LEADS to evaluate Building-level and District-level leaders. Administrators in specialty areas, as well as, positions of Assistant, Deputy, or Associate Superintendents may be evaluated using the school/district leader evaluation rubric. The LEADS rubric for building/district leaders is also based on the ISLLC standards and functions.
During the 2013-2014 school year, a LEADS advisory committee was convened and met throughout the year to examine appropriate growth measures for the LEADS evaluation system. The advisory committee continues work on the incorporation of student growth measures for building-level administrators that align with the requirements for teachers. Growth for administrators will be applied to overall yearly ratings according to the same timeline as growth is applied to teacher ratings. Additional research will be done to determine appropriate growth for district administrators.
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