Hawaii News Principals approve evaluations, 9 years after law mandated By Mary Vorsino Jan. 25, 2013 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Long-overdue performance evaluations for Hawaii public school principals will be rolled out next school year, with half of a principal’s rating based on student achievement, the union for school administrators announced Thursday. The new evaluations, spelled out in a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Education, satisfy the requirements of a law passed nine years ago mandating performance contracts for principals. EVALUATION SYSTEM FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS >> Ratings will go into effect for all principals and vice principals in the 2013-14 school year. >> Half of the rating will be based on student achievement data; the other half, on professional practice (growth, school planning, school culture, instructional leadership and stakeholder support). >> System includes “collaborative processes” for principals to review school progress with complex-area superintendents and set school-wide student achievement targets. >> Ratings will be tied to training opportunities tailored to administrators’ needs. >> Each principal will get a rating on a 5-point scale, with 1 being “unacceptable progress” and 5 being “exceptional progress.” Source: State Department of Education Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, said the deal offers a robust accountability system that stresses continuous feedback and improvement. "It’s going to be a dynamic process," Perreira said Thursday at a news conference. "It is intended to provide support, professional development and training." Key aspects of the evaluation system remain unresolved, including what the consequences will be for principals deemed unsatisfactory, and what the incentives will be for those rated highly. Perreira did say that if a principal is given opportunities to improve and does not, "then the department is expected to deal with it." Francine Honda, principal of Kailua High School and president of HGEA’s Unit 6, which represents school executive officers, said the evaluation system is meant to be a tool to help principals and vice principals determine whether they’re on the right track. "I have a lot of confidence that as we move forward we will address the concerns principals have" about a performance-based contract system, Honda said. The deal comes as a labor dispute with teachers is about to enter its 19th month, and as there remains considerable uncertainty from the teachers union over what an evaluation system linked to student academic growth would look like for teachers. Under the new system for principals, administrators will be evaluated based on six areas, including student achievement, school culture, professional qualities and stakeholder support and engagement. Half of a principal’s rating will be based on data on student outcomes. The data used in evaluations will vary from school to school, depending on their needs and goals, but could include such things as student test scores, attendance and graduation rates. The other half of the evaluation will be based on the leadership attributes, reviews of which will be conducted by complex superintendents over several visits during a school year. The DOE was required to implement performance contracts for school principals as part of a host of school reforms included in Act 51, which passed in 2004. Concerns over how the contracts would work slowed and eventually stalled their implementation. State Sen. Jill Tokuda, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, said Thursday the revamped principal evaluation system is "a long time coming." "Obviously, this is very good news," Tokuda (D, Kailua-Kaneohe) told the Star-Advertiser. "Kudos to the principals for sitting down and working with the department to look at what’s best for our students, what’s best for our schools." Principals will be rated annually under the new system, and in their fifth year at a school will receive a "summative evaluation" to determine whether they have succeeded in meeting key school improvement goals. The interim scale for the annual evaluations ranges from 5 for "exceptional progress" to 1 for "unacceptable progress," according to DOE documents. The current evaluation system for principals does not include student outcomes data, and instead is based on four goals, including whether a principal promotes a positive climate and "manages the full scope of school administrative responsibilities." Principals are rated on a five-point scale ranging from excellent to unsatisfactory. In the 2010-11 school year, the most recent year for which data are available, 61 percent of 253 principals evaluated were rated "excellent," and 25 percent were rated "good," according to preliminary DOE statistics. Two principals were rated marginal and one was deemed unsatisfactory. DOE figures also show nearly half of 265 vice principals statewide were rated excellent in 2010-11, 31 percent were rated good and none was deemed marginal or unsatisfactory. As part of ongoing school improvement efforts, the state has pledged to institute new evaluations for teachers and principals that take into account student growth and then use those ratings for high-stakes decisions such as tenure, compensation and dismissal. Tokuda said the principal agreement "does show that you can create a comprehensive evaluation system." Referring to ongoing negotiations with teachers, she added, "One would hope that this perhaps would create some fertile ground for movement on other fronts." Hawaii’s 12,500 teachers continue to work under a "last, best and final" contract offer with wage reductions that the state imposed in July 2011. While talks are ongoing, it appears the state and teachers union are still a long way off from reaching a deal, much less an agreement on revamped teacher evaluations. Teachers on Thursday resumed "work to rule" protests to call for a resolution to their labor dispute. As part of the protests, teachers work only the hours they’re required to under contract. Previous Story Bird let loose by vandals remains missing from zoo Next Story State dismisses HSTA's latest offer as 'fiscally unrealistic'