A crucial part of launching any district initiative is communicating to stakeholders about how a program will affect them.
The Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) defines, supports and rewards excellent teaching. With TEI, Dallas ISD has sought to both inform and gather feedback from stakeholders, including teachers, principals, parents, students and the community, in a variety of ways.
Feedback and teacher input
A critical part of the TEI design process was teacher and principal input. Identified teachers became “TEI experts” who have had early and continual input into the shaping the system. The experts became important sources of information about TEI for their principals and fellow teachers, but also were leveraged for use in articles and videos that were shared with staff, parents and the community.
Throughout implementation, the district’s communication efforts assisted with TEI milestone. Communications continue to be key for TEI, as the initiative is a continuous improvement model, which means the initiative will be continually refined based on input from teachers and principals.
- A special website that featured information about work on the teacher evaluation system was launched in 2012. Geared toward district teachers, the site that evolved into www.dallasisd.org/tei explains TEI in great detail, has links to staff resources and much more.
- E-mail newsletters were sent regularly to teachers and principals starting in April 2015. The letters included important reminders and dates, information on TEI specific to both principals and teachers, and tools such as how to calculate compensation. The results were tow fold: 1) to provide information about the major components of TEI; 2) to also create an archive of information to be used as a resource in the future.
TEI updates were sent via email to the public via The CAPE (Community Advocates for Public Education) newsletter, which is available to anyone who signs up to receive it.
- Articles and videos on the Hub, the district’s news website, featured information on TEI, from its early stages and through its implementation. Click here to see the Hub’s TEI-related stories.
Video packages showed how the teachers selected as TEI experts provided feedback to modify the system. Articles spoke about the important role principals play as campus leaders in TEI’s implementation, in providing feedback and answering their teachers’ questions, but also in becoming certified to evaluate teachers. A list of Frequently Asked Questions parents may have about TEI was created to share what it all means in their children’s classrooms.
- Key messages were featured on the Dallas ISD Facebook and Twitter pages as links to articles and videos on The Hub. This put important information in the hands of parents, students and community members who wanted to see what TEI is all about. Sharing information via social media was one way the district was transparent in how TEI was being shaped and implemented.
As TEI heads into its second full year of implementation, communicating the steps along the way and any changes made to the system will continue to be a major part of the program. Having an effective teacher in every classroom is tantamount to helping ensure every Dallas ISD student graduates from high school college- or career-ready.
Talking TEI is an eight-part series that dives into the nuts and bolts of the district’s new teacher evaluation system.