One of the more uplifting parts of my job is receiving news that one of our students or staff members has been recognized for an award. In the past two weeks I learned that we have a regional principal of the year (Jason Bickling, Seward Middle School), the Ken Haycock Award recipient given by the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science (Valerie Kingsland, Seward Elementary School), and two students (Nianiella Dorvall, Nikolaevsk and Courtney Stroh, Kenai) who will be awarded with the June Nelson Memorial Scholarship that is given by the Association of Alaska School Boards. Because I know that such recognitions are in part due to the collective effort of those who work with the student or staff member, it is appropriate that those immediate to the award also take some credit; education is not an individual sport.
The recent changes that will tie student learning to teacher performance are logical and should be a part of the evaluation equation. This should however, be tempered by the broader picture that an education is a collective effort that includes a myriad of pieces. As we seek to improve, let’s continue to expect first rate teaching, but also recognize that the most successful schools are those that have a team of educators and supportive parents and community members working hard to make the individual student’s education a success. Perhaps the evaluation regulation should be rewritten so that the collective staff, not the individual teacher is evaluated on students’ growth.