Welcome to Talking TEI

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Anyone who has attended a Dallas ISD school will likely agree that the district has some of the best and most dedicated teachers in the country.

Those who personally know a Dallas ISD teacher have likely seen firsthand how much work goes into being an effective teacher. Whether it is staying into the evening to help a struggling student, grading assignments on the weekend or getting excited over the summer about a new lesson idea, great teachers don’t have the privilege of ever really taking a day off. It’s not lip service to say that being an effective teacher can be the hardest and, much of the time, most underappreciated job in the country.

The question for Dallas ISD, then, became how to identify, support, and reward the district’s effective teachers. To address this issue, the district from 2011-2014 developed an evaluation system that evolved from tying salary increases to years of service to rewarding teachers based on their effectiveness in the classroom. The district held stakeholder meetings, incorporated research, planning, and testing in an effort to ensure the evaluation system would be fair, accurate and rigorous.

In May 2014, trustees approved the adoption of the Teacher Excellence Initiative. TEI is arguably the nation’s most rigorous pay-for-performance evaluation system, and it provides effective teachers with the opportunity to make a substantially higher salary in a much shorter period of time. TEI is based on a scoring system that seeks to make the evaluations of a second-grade teacher and a high school English teacher equal and fair, and it also provides a variety of resources and professional development opportunities to help teachers succeed in the classroom.

On Friday, Sept. 18, teachers will receive their first-ever TEI evaluation scorecards, which detail their effectiveness level. Leading up to the release of the scorecards, the Hub will run a series of articles where readers can learn about how salaries under TEI compare to a traditional step schedule; the history of TEI; how the district has communicated the initiative; and much more.

Through TEI, Dallas ISD believes the district is better positioned than ever to identify, support and reward our effective teachers’ hard work that is helping prepare our students to succeed in life. Also, by changing the paradigm to focus on teacher performance and opening up the possibility for a teacher to make more money faster, Dallas ISD will increase the odds of attracting and retaining great teachers in the future.

Tune into the Hub this week and next week to learn more.

Talking TEI is an eight-part series that dives into the nuts and bolts of the district’s new teacher evaluation system.

A Beginner’s Guide to TEI

Part 1: Welcome to Talking TEI

Part 2: Ed talk with Dr. Bravo: TEI scorecards

Part 3: On the road to TEI

Part 4: Under TEI, teachers have potential to earn higher salaries than previously

Part 5: TEI based on foundation in research

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