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TEA Correspondence

A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.

 

Notice of Waiver Request and Opportunity to Comment

 

September 23, 2011

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:

SUBJECT:   Availability of Waiver Request to U.S. Department of Education for School Improvement Grants Transformation Schools to Extend Timeline for Implementation of Evaluation Systems

Section I.A.2(d)(1)(i)(B) of the final requirements for the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program requires a local educational agency (LEA) to develop and implement teacher and principal evaluation systems that meet certain requirements during the first year a school is implementing the transformation model.  The evaluation systems are required to be rigorous, transparent, and equitable and to take into account data on student academic growth as a significant factor as well as other factors such as multiple observation-based assessments of performance, ongoing collections of information on professional practice reflective of student achievement, and increased high school graduation rates.

The waiver referenced in this correspondence would permit the Texas Education Agency (TEA), in accordance with criteria the TEA develops, to permit an LEA that is implementing the transformation model in one or more schools to take additional time to develop and implement high-quality evaluation systems that meet these requirements.  Specifically, the TEA plans to seek this waiver because the Texas Education Code (TEC), §21.352 requires that any locally-developed appraisal system be developed by both the campus- and district-level planning and decision-making committees established in the TEC, §11.251 and approved by the board of trustees, a process that takes considerable time to implement.  In addition, the TEA is planning a revision of the commissioner-approved appraisal process that SIG campuses may wish to use to meet this requirement.

The TEA believes that the additional time will enable qualifying LEAs to meet the SIG final requirements while encouraging the development and implementation of high-quality teacher and principal evaluation systems that will increase the quality of instruction for students and improve the academic achievement of students.  The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) invited states to submit this type of waiver request, and the TEA, therefore, plans to submit a waiver to provide additional flexibility to cohort 1 and cohort 2 schools related to the timeline for implementing the required evaluation systems.

The proposed requested waiver will allow the TEA to modify implementation timelines as follows.  A school that began implementing the transformation model during the 2010-2011 school year (cohort 1) and that was not able to complete the development and implementation of its evaluation systems during that year must develop them during the 2011-2012 school year and, at a minimum, pilot them for all teachers and principals no later than the 2012-2013 school year. The piloted systems should be capable of being used for decisions regarding, for example, retention, promotion, compensation, and rewards no later than the 2013-2014 school year.  A school that begins implementing the transformation model in the 2011-2012 school year
(cohort 2) must develop its evaluation systems during that year, pilot them for all teachers and principals during the 2012-2013 school year, and use the system in the school for decisions regarding, for example, retention, promotion, compensation, and rewards, no later than the 2013-2014 school year.

If granted a waiver of the implementation timeline for the evaluation system requirements of the transformation model, the TEA must make a number of assurances to the USDE.  Additional information regarding the waiver request and required assurances is available on the TEA website at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=7354&menu_id=798 under the section titled TTIPS News and Announcements.

Prior to submitting a waiver, the TEA is required to provide all LEAs in Texas with notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment on the request.  Public comments related to this proposed waiver request must be submitted to the TEA no later than October 24, 2011.  Comments may be submitted to the Department of Accreditation and School Improvement by mail at 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701; by fax at (512) 936-6474; or by email at nclbttips@tea.state.tx.us.

In addition to the web posting, TEA has provided notice and information regarding this waiver request to the public by publishing a notice in the September 23, 2011 edition of the Texas Register.

For more information regarding this waiver, please contact the Division of School Improvement and Support at (512) 463-5899 or by email at nclbttips@tea.state.tx.us.

Sincerely,

 

Laura Taylor
Associate Commissioner
Accreditation and School Improvement

 

cc: Lizzette Reynolds, Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Programs, TEA
Ann Smisko, Associate Commissioner, Educator Leadership and Quality, TEA
Anita Givens, Associate Commissioner, Standards and Programs, TEA
Gene Lenz, Director, Federal and State Education Policy, TEA
Karen Batchelor, Director, Program Monitoring and Interventions, TEA
Sally Partridge, Director, Texas Center for District and School Support

 

 

Proposed Text of USDE SIG Waiver:

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