Peer Assistance Review
Peer Assistance and Review began as a program in Toledo, Ohio in the early 1980’s and has been successfully implemented in many states since then. In most programs, teachers are trained to do the same appraisal process as administration. They are also trained to provide needed assistance to help improve teacher practice. Most include assistance for new teachers or for struggling tenured staff. One of the most comprehensive summary looks at PAR programs can be found at the Harvard website. There are a variety of models and implementations of the programs currently in practice. The ETA has heard presentations as well from our TURN partners.
During the summer of 2010, the Elgin Teacher Association received an invitation to participate with the NEA Foundation on a collaborative project with our District to improve teacher effectiveness and student growth. This was shared in the press release sent to our members and the community.
“Through the multi-year program, Elgin District U-46 leaders will collaborate with leaders from other districts to tackle some of the most pressing issues in public education, such as teacher evaluation and assignment, compensation systems and layoffs, increasing the effectiveness and relevance of professional development, and providing an equitable education to all students. The team from Elgin District U-46 was chosen to participate in the NEA Foundation’s Institute because of their commitment to jointly designed efforts to improve teaching and learning.”
After discussing the possibility with the District, we agreed to look at PAR as a possible project. This is an opportunity to address some of the changes in appraisal due to PERA and SB7 by adding needed support for teachers that need improvement. It also allows teachers to extend their professional skill to others and improve their practice as well. This fits in well with our appraisal plan and can benefit from the model created through our successful mentoring program.