So you wrote up the teacher and gave him an official “intervention plan” or “growth plan” or whatever you want to call it. The teacher diligently carried out every task in the plan. But you are still not satisfied with the teacher’s performance. Can you recommend nonrenewal of contract?
Yes. That’s one of the lessons of Kellogg v. Sinton ISD, decided by the Commissioner in August, 2014. Mr. Kellogg appealed his nonrenewal to T.E.A. and argued that since he had satisfied every requirement of his “Teacher in Need of Assistance” (TINA) Plan, he was safe and protected from nonrenewal.
Not so. The ruling tells us that “successfully completing an intervention plan does not protect one from being notice for proposed nonrenewal.”
On top of that, the Commissioner pointed out that Mr. Kellogg had not, in fact, successfully fulfilled the requirements of the TINA. Sure, he had turned in lesson plans and observed other teachers, as the TINA required. But this did not produce the required results. The purpose of a TINA, or any corrective communication an employee is to produce a better result. In this case, the TINA called for periodic walk-throughs to provide evidence that the teacher had improved in classroom management. The walk-throughs provided evidence alright…but not evidence of improved performance.
Kudos to Sinton ISD for writing a TINA that properly focuses on results. I learned a long time ago that the key phrase in a growth plan is “so that.” For example: “the teacher will attend a training session at the local ESC on classroom management SO THAT the teacher’s classroom management skills improve as evidenced by an increase in students being on task when periodic walk-throughs are conducted.” There are many good examples of this in The Texas Documentation Handbook by Kemerer and Crain, published by Park Place Publications.
Another interesting tidbit in this case: how long does the board have to “deliberate” in a nonrenewal case? Here, the board took just 20 minutes to decide the case after four hours of hearing and 500 pages of exhibits. The Commissioner did not have a problem with that.
The case is Docket No. 077-R1-2014.
DAWG BONE: MAKE SURE YOUR GROWTH PLANS FOCUS ON RESULTS!