MANATEE COUNTY -- As the Manatee County School District moves to performance-based teacher pay, it is adopting a new evaluation tool.
Secondary principals and assistant principals attended training Monday at Braden River High School with Diana Greene, deputy superintendent of instruction, while elementary principals and assistant principals trained at Bayshore High School on the new Charlotte Danielson teacher evaluation system.
Teachers will be trained with a special session in August during an in-service day before school begins.
"It's one of the nationally recognized models," Greene said of the Danielson model while presenting it to the school board recently.
A previous evaluation tool was a hybrid that left many teachers distrusting the system, said Pat Barber, president of the Manatee Education Association. The district and union settled on the Danielson model in March.
Barber, a member of the Teacher Evaluation Committee, attended Monday's session at Braden River High.
"Being fair, unbiased and having a balanced instrument is really important," Barber said.
At Braden River High School, secondary principals got their first taste of the model with Don Chan, an educational consultant with Teaching Learning Solutions, the company hired by the district to help train teachers on the system.
Principals learned the foundations of the Danielson model, watched a lesson for practice and started working on Truenorthlogic, a software system that will allow principals to do evaluations online in real time.
The new system will allow principals and assistant principals to highlight and address issues with teachers, said Steve Zickafoose, assistant principal at Nolan Middle School. The old system didn't allow that, he said.
"It seems to be more detailed than what we had in the past," he said.
The Danielson model breaks teacher evaluations into four large domains, which are then split into components and elements. The structure of the evaluation tool is meant to promote greater accuracy, meaning the teacher would receive the same evaluation regardless of who is conducting it.
Zickafoose said he appreciated being able to discuss the evaluation system as a group, so all principals and assistant principals have similar understandings.
Performance-based teacher pay is based 50 percent on the evaluation model and 50 percent on student achievement.
Students will take state tests based on the Florida standards for the first time in the 2014-15 school year. End-of-course exams are also being created for each course taught in Manatee County schools.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.