Vail Valley Voices: School board’s commitment to teachers |

Vail Valley Voices: School board’s commitment to teachers

Eagle County Board of Education
Vail, CO, Colorado

The Board of Education would like to state our commitment to Eagle County Schools’ teacher-evaluation system, master and mentor teacher career paths, embedded professional development and performance-based compensation.

We believe that these supports provided to teachers in our district are some of the primary reasons that our teachers are of such high quality. This is the method that we are using to impact student achievement, by impacting the quality of our teachers.

We continue to believe that having the best teacher in front of every student in our district is the most effective way to increase student achievement, thereby securing the opportunities that our students will have for their futures.

We support the continual improvement of these systems and support the process that has been used over the past 10 years to revise and improve them.

The professional-development functions of our district are essential to leading us through these changes and improvements.

Now, as curriculum improvements have become an additional need, we recognize the need for professional-development support for our teachers in this area, as well.

The expertise and leadership provided by our district office leadership and coaches and our instructional leadership teams of principal, master teachers and mentor teachers are essential to helping teachers improve their crafts, stay focused on student achievement, use student achievement data and maintain a collaborative culture of working as teams to affect student learning.

We are proud of our system and believe it is an integral part of our district.

In fact, it is no longer a separate system. It is just the way we do business.

Over the past few years, we have cut the supports for this part of our organization significantly.

Our district-level instructional coaches have been cut, and our master and mentor teacher positions have decreased in pay and taken on responsibilities for more teachers.

Our mentor teaching force has decreased from 113 to 68 in only three years – a decrease in this support to teachers of almost 40 percent.

We recognize that in the future our system will continue to change, but we remain committed to keeping it in place as a necessary component of a high-functioning school district.

As new laws and state standards go into effect over the next few years, we recognize that our teachers are better prepared and supported to work within a statewide system that will place higher personal stakes on their performance and directly tie their performance to the achievement of their students.

We look forward to the new, similar system that is being developed for principal evaluation and development and recognize that it, too, will have a positive effect on student learning and on the development of our teachers.

We believe the leadership and support of highly effective principals is necessary so that highly effective teachers can raise student achievement in their schools.

We cannot afford to take away these supports for the professional quality of our teaching force at this critical juncture. It would not be prudent to stop investing in the development of our teachers.

In our district, we believe that investing in the talents of our teachers is investing in student achievement.

The members of the Eagle County Board of Education are Jeanne McQueeney, president; Carrie Benway, vice president; Kate Cocchiarella, secretary-treasurer; Brian Nolan; Ross Morgan; TJ Johnson; and Tessa Kirchner.

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