Peer Assistance Review
Peer Assistance & Review (PAR) is a resource offered to all certified staff members who are not formally matched with a Mentor in the Teacher Mentor Program. PAR offers year-long, job-embedded, one-on-one support for both instruction and appraisal. Certified staff members are paired with a Peer Consultant Teacher (PCT) to work through the Plan, Teach, Reflect, and Apply cycle, through the lens of the Danielson Framework for Teaching.
This program is effective for any teacher or certified staff member who has experienced a significant change in position, is still relatively new to teaching (but no longer in the TMP), or those who want to move their practice from basic to proficient or proficient to distinguished.
If this type of support is something you are interested in, please reach out to our PAR team at PARadm@u-46.org for more information.
The History of PAR
Peer Assistance and Review began as a program in Toledo, Ohio in the early 1980s 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 summaries looks at PAR programs can be found on 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 in 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 skills 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.