Culminating the first year of using a tool to evaluate its teaching staff, the Kyrene School District presented results that showed more than 800 teachers were rated as “highly effective.”

Since implementing the use of the Marzano Teacher Evaluation System at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, the district made 12,000 evaluations in total, which included meetings and classroom visits for its teachers. Ratings showed that 802 teachers were graded as highly effective and 200 as effective.

Using the Art and Science of Teaching Framework, under the Marzano system, a teacher’s effectiveness is graded among four domains that include classroom strategies and behaviors, planning and preparation, reflecting and teaching, and collegiality and professionalism. Since a new Arizona law required school districts to have some system for evaluation implemented by the 2013-14 school year, Kyrene managed to keep ahead of the curve.

“It’s our intent that we’re really using the instrument,” said Dr. Gina Taylor, assistant superintendent of instructional services.

Director of Human Resource Services Mark Knight said the design team for the evaluation tool will continue to focus on continuing to work on teacher growth, improvement plans, and also look into teacher incentive and performance pay plans.

Noted as being an ongoing process instead of a one-time assessment of teachers and staff, the district hopes further use of the tool will encourage teachers to strive for better student grades, teaching effectiveness and performance. Once more school districts implement their own evaluation systems, Kyrene will be able to compare teacher effectiveness with other district ratings.

“It’s a whole new world, and they’re really committing to this,” Taylor said.

For more information about the evaluation tool, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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