The Mabel-Canton School board voted unanimously to approve the district's Education Association Growth and Evaluation Plan, along with the 2013-15 Education Association Contract as part of the consent agenda at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Mabel-Canton Principal Jeff Nolte said school districts are required to have a district evaluation plan for teachers in place by the beginning of the next school year.

"A committee of myself, Paul Tollefsrud and Lori Schute have been working very diligently on defining some of the current things we have been doing (for teacher evaluations) and then adding some of the (new) statute requirements to the plan...and it is complete at this point," Nolte said.

One of the newest components of the district's evaluation plan is the peer review component, where teachers will have their work reviewed by another teacher in the district.

The Peer Review Form that will be used will have teachers evaluated in areas of planning and preparation, the classroom environments, instruction and professional responsibilities demonstrated.

"They are all feedback and hopefully (will) allow teachers to understand the things they are doing very, very well - and give them ideas and constructive criticism in areas where they can do an even better job for students," Nolte said.

Each probationary teacher (in their first three years of teaching) will be observed by a peer reviewer once a year along with three administrative evaluations, and tenured teachers will have a peer review component two out of every three years with a summative evaluation by the principal on the third year.

"Every teacher will be evaluated every year under our new plan," Nolte added.

The plan also requires all teachers to participate in a Professional Learning Committee (PLC), which are groups of teachers working collaboratively to enhance education as a whole.

The new evaluation and growth plan will be implemented at the beginning of the next school year.

Education Association contract

With little discussion, the school board voted to approve the collective bargaining agreement between the district and the teachers union for 2013-15.

"They (teachers) do all of the heavy lifting for us, they are a big part of any school...and it is always good to be able to treat them as fairly as you can because they are the backbone of what we do for kids," Nolte said.