Pilot Policy Practice

The state of Arizona has adopted the INTASC Model Core standards that describe what teachers should know and be able to do as professional educators.  They have also passed a new law that outlines the criteria for teacher evaluation across the state.  Districts around the state have scrambled to adopt or create an evaluation instrument that meets the new criteria set forth by the state.

This year I have the opportunity to serve on the district committee that will pilot the new teacher evaluation instrument.  The goal of this committee is to take the teacher evaluation instrument that has been created and use it to gather data in order to create cut scores and to improve the instrument itself.  In essence, this committee of educators will have direct influence on every teacher evaluation in our district.

Each one of us was selected because of our unique skills and knowledge base; we have diverse perspectives and varying opinions.  We share a communal responsibility to create a successful transition to our new teacher evaluation.  It is crucial that we anticipate the needs of all those impacted by this new evaluation process.  We know that the task is large and that the timeframe is short.  We also don’t know what we don’t know, so I predict a year of fast paced learning where we will need to call on our flexibility and our resources in order to be successful.

I have often wondered how the decisions that impacted my working conditions and the policies of school districts are created.  This will be the first time that I will be at the center of the conversation instead of speculating from the outside.  I’ve decided to post a series of blogs around this topic this year in hopes of chronicling how policy meets practice from the inside.

Wish me luck!


Julie Torres

Julie Torres

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Julie Torres. I wasn’t always sure that I wanted to be a teacher; somewhere along the way I realized that teaching had been knocking at my door for a long time. I became a teacher because it felt natural; I remain a teacher because my students inspire me.

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