Pacoima Elementary Charter School:Teacher Evaluation « Center on Educational Governance (CEG)

Pacoima Elementary Charter School:Teacher Evaluation

Pacoima Elementary Charter School:
Teacher Evaluation

Pacoima Elementary Charter School

Pacoima, California
Founded 2003
1318 students
Grades pre K-5
97% Hispanic, 2% African-American, <1% White, <1% Filipino, <1% Pacific Islander, <1% Asian, <1% Native American, <1% Other
73% English language learners
11% special needs
99.5% receive subsidized meals
Teachers belong to a collective bargaining unit
[web site n/a]

Source: Center on Educational Governance, 2008.

Pacoima Elementary’s teacher
evaluation system has five parts: an optional group meeting to explain the evaluation process; an initial planning conference for the teacher and her evaluators; classroom observations and visits; a mid-year conference, and a final evaluation at the end of the year. 

Teachers with fewer than three years’ experience at Pacoima are evaluated annually. Tenured teachers are
evaluated every three years.  


At the initial planning conferences and mid-year conference, each teacher meets with the Director of Instruction and one of the two Assistant Directors for 20 to 30 minutes during the school day. Substitute coverage is arranged; this ensures that the planning conferences are conducted in a timely manner at the beginning of the year. Teachers bring their completed initial planning sheets and discuss their professional goals for the year with their assigned administrator.

These planning sheets help focus classroom observations, which are held unannounced, and help guide non-evaluative visits from a “coach.”

During the final evaluation, the teacher receives a score, based on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession. A score of 3 indicates that a teacher exceeds expectations; 2 means a teacher meets expectations; and 1 reflects the need to improve.
The scoring is meant not to be punitive but to inspire self-reflection and spur the desire to become a better teacher, leading to student achievement.


The exact amount spent on teacher evaluation is difficult to estimate because the  primary expense is the salaries of nine staff members who have other duties as well. 

The Director of Instruction oversees the teacher evaluation process, assigns administrators to teachers, schedules planning conferences and coordinates professional development. (Her other main responsibility is the curriculum.)

The two Assistant Directors spend approximately 30 percent of their time, or two hours per day, on teacher evaluation.

The six grade-level coaches, also called coordinators, are full-time out-of classroom support staff members who are responsible for various administrative tasks as well.

Otherwise, the primary visible expense is the salaries for substitute teachers to come in for three days each meeting period. No additional facilities are required.

Lessons Learned

All out-of-classroom personnel acknowledged the need to be in classrooms more often.  “It’s challenging to not let the little surprise, such as a student with a bloody nose, distract you from visiting the classroom,” one administrator said.

Some veteran teachers were less enthusiastic about self-evaluation and time lines for improvement than were newer teachers, the director observed.

Teachers said that they found the classroom visits to be stressful. They also tended to choose areas to improve that were the most personally challenging, then sometimes had difficulty meeting those goals.

The teachers also voiced appreciation for the use of substitute teachers in order for meetings to occur during school hours. They felt respected and that the effort was collaborative.

Meaningful and accurate, fact-based feedback was valued by everyone.

Because the evaluation relies on teacher reflection and a change in teacher behavior, the administrators noted that professional development is central to making these changes possible. 


At Pacoima Elementary Charter School, the teacher evaluation process is a pathway by which teachers become interested in self-improvement and administrators guide that improvement while demonstrating respect for the teachers’ time.

Professional development sessions became a tool to set administrators’ expectations, to help them guide teachers’ behavior towards improvement, and to help teachers increase effectiveness.

All stakeholders believe the rise of student achievement scores is evidence of impact. .  Since 2003, the school’s Academic Performance Index and California Standardized Test scores have risen steadily, although the school has failed to meet its Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act.

A direct correlation is unclear, but the administrators note that each time they left feedback for a teacher and it was implemented, they linked the feedback to the school-wide database of student achievement scores from the curriculum-based assessments.


Center on Educational Governance
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