The Woodward News

February 13, 2013

Board discusses teacher evaluation system

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Woodward's Board of Education voted in favor of a 2-year extension on the implementation on a new teacher leader effectiveness (TLE) system.

During the school board's monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 11, Superintendent Tim Merchant explained that the TLE is a new teacher evaluation system which features both a qualitative as well as a quantitative aspect.

Merchant explained that the qualitative portion involves principals actively observing educators as they teach in the classroom. The quantitive portion relies on students' testing results to evaluate a teachers' effectiveness.

The superintendent said Woodward Public Schools would only be requesting an extension on the quantitative aspect of the test, "Because the test for that portion of the evaluation hasn't been developed yet."

He explained that the request would only postpone the quantitative portion of the test until such time that a test specifically designed to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers could be developed and implemented into the system.

Merchant said many other Oklahoma school districts were also displeased with the current plans to use a quantitative test which Merchant described as "up in the air."

"There's so much controversy surrounding the quantitative portion of the test, I think it's important that we join with our other schools until such time that there's an adequately valid and fair way to evaluate the teachers," he said.


In another teacher related matter, the school board approved awarding the $5,000 National Board Certified stipends for 2012-2013 to the 19 teachers, librarians, counselors and speech pathologists who are board certified in the Woodward school district.

In other action, the school board voted Linda Harrison as the new board president, and Doris Ames as vice president.

The school board also set a March 14 date for the sale of $5,335,000 building bonds of Woodward school district. These bonds had been approved in 2008 and had been used for construction of the new Early Childhood Center as well as the additions at each of the 3 elementary schools.

In the event that the acting president or clerk for the school district was unable to be present at the time of the bond sale, Ames was appointed to sign as president and Merchant as clerk.

The school board members also met for 2 1/2 hours in executive session in which they were slated to discuss proposed hirings and Merchant's annual superintendent review.

After returning to open session, the board voted to hire 3 people, Staci Tuck as a Highland Park Elementary teacher, Michelle Rearden as a High School Educational paraprofessional, and Elvira Ayala as ECC custodian.  No action was taken regarding Merchant's performance review.


The school board also took time during their meeting Monday to honor local World War II veteran Elden Damron.

Damron, who served both in France and Okinawa, was presented with an honorary high school diploma.

Merchant explained that due to a law passed in the early 2000s, veterans serving in World War II who missed their opportunity to obtain a high school diploma due to their service would be allowed to receive one now.

"What an honor it is to present you with this," the superintendent said as he presented Damron with the diploma. "I'm happy our legislators were wise enough to see these guys and gals who served our country were deserving, and we're proud to be able to do this for you after all you've done for us."

Damron expressed gratitude saying, "Thank you. I really appreciate this."


Also recognized at the school board meeting were the 2013 Teacher of the Year candidates, who were asked to share a little bit about themselves.

Woodward Middle School 8th Grade American History teacher Chelsea Roberts said, "This  is my second year as a teacher in Woodward so I can't tell you how honored I am to be nominated for the teacher of the year."

Roberts said her drive to teach was spreading her love of history and politics to her students.

"When my students tell me they watched the news last night, I consider that a win," she said.

2nd Grade Horace Mann Elementary teacher Neagle put it simply, "Teaching is what I was born to do."

Neagle explained that during the time she'd taken off to care for her sick daughter Zayne after her birth, Neagle realized just how much she loved teaching. Neagle said that while she wouldn't trade that time with her daughter for anything, she became certain that teaching was her passion.

Neagle expressed her gratitude to be able to teach in the Woodward community, saying, "I feel so blessed to be in Woodward. The community has just taken in my family and I, and I'm so grateful."

Pre-kindergarten teacher at Woodward's ECC Monica Hodgden expressed her gratitude for being nominated as well as her love for teaching young students.

Hodgden said she loved hearing parents come up and tell her that their children were playing school at home and were acting just like her.

"The little ones just seem to love you so much," said Hodgden about her students.

8th Grade Math teacher Abbie Wasson explained her favorite part of the job, saying, "I'm a big math geek, my students always come back and tell me that, but that's okay because I know they understand the subject. And when they get it, and you see that lightbulb go on, that's just fantastic."

High School English Teacher Michelle McDonald as well as High School Science Teacher Chanda Peters were unable to attend the meeting, but sent their gratitude for being nominated for the Teacher of the Year award.


FFA students attended the meeting as well to inform the board of the various activities they have scheduled for the upcoming National FFA Week, Feb. 16-23.

FFA students touched on plans for an FFA food drive in which people can bring nonperishable to the Woodward High School FFA building.

They also have plans for a Teacher Appreciation breakfast for the staff of the high school, and a meal on Thursday, Feb. 21 from 11 a.m. to noon for the FFA parents, students, and local business owners. The FFA students will also have a scavenger hunt on Feb. 21 where they'll have an opportunity to collect FFA hoodies and t-shirts.

The week will culminate with the local FFA livestock show, which will be held at Feb. 23 starting at 9 a.m. followed by a dinner and premium show at 5 p.m.