Your principal will be formally evaluating your teaching practice. What does this mean? What do you need to do?
Teacher evaluation is a formal process of gathering information or evidence about a teacher’s competence in relation to the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS). While evaluation processes vary based on the context of the teacher’s teaching assignment, one way for an evaluation to take place is through several planned and unplanned classroom observations. Evaluation processes differ across the province based on each school division’s administrative procedures, but all school divisions must follow the provincial Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy framework.
The policy articulates that teacher evaluations may be conducted
(a) upon the written request of the teacher;
(b) for purposes of gathering information related to a specific employment decision;
(c) for purposes of assessing the growth of the teacher in specific areas of practice;
(d) when, on the basis of information received through supervision, the principal has reason to believe that the teaching of the teacher may not meet the teaching quality standard.
Teachers Without a Continuing Contract
Teachers without a continuing contract are often evaluated in accordance with reason (b) above. School divisions must evaluate teachers with probationary contracts to decide on their potential future employment. Depending on the school division’s teacher growth, supervision and evaluation administrative procedure, a teacher with a temporary contract may be evaluated for the same reason.
Teachers With a Continuing Contract
Teachers with a continuing contract are assumed competent because the division has already evaluated them when they worked on a probationary contract. Generally, teachers who have demonstrated competence during the supervision process are not evaluated. However, if the principal identifies concerns, an evaluation may be initiated in accordance with reason (d) above.
The Supervision Process
The supervision process that precedes a potential evaluation must focus on growth, support and guidance. If a principal has concerns about a teacher’s teaching practice, the principal should work with the teacher to identify the concerns and offer feedback, guidance and support. Ideally, the teacher would respond appropriately to these concerns and make changes to their practice accordingly. It is only after unsuccessful attempts to improve the teacher’s practice that a principal may initiate an evaluation. If you are a continuing contract teacher and your principal wants to formally evaluate your teaching practice without identifying any areas of concern or offering to support and guide your practice, an evaluation may be premature. Call Teacher Employment Services (TES) for advice.
The provincial Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy identifies several processes that school divisions must follow when a principal conducts a teacher evaluation to ensure that the evaluation is fair and provides a clear, stable, achievable target for the teacher to achieve. For example, a principal must explicitly communicate to the teacher the reasons for and purposes of the evaluation; the process, criteria and standards to be used; the timelines to be applied; and the possible outcomes. While the provincial policy provides these safeguards for teachers, it does not dictate the exact process that must be used. More specific processes, such as a minimum number of individual classroom observations or applicable time frames, are generally found in the school division’s administrative procedure.
At the conclusion of an evaluation, the teacher should receive a copy of the completed evaluation report that includes the information and evidence that were collected, identifies areas of strength and growth, and shows how the evidence applies to the TQS and whether the teacher’s practice meets the TQS. When being presented with this evaluation report, teachers should also be provided with the opportunity to share their thoughts. Sometimes the report requires a teacher’s signature, which does not mean that they agree with all of its contents but rather confirms that they have received a copy.
Next Steps After an Evaluation
For teachers with continuing contracts, the outcome of the evaluation generally informs the next steps. If the teacher meets the TQS, the evaluation process ends and the principal’s usual supervisory practices would follow. If the TQS is not met, a period of remediation with significant, targeted supports should follow. Call TES for any questions regarding remediation.
For teachers with probationary contracts, it is common for the principal to recommend potential future employment status with the school division. Because staffing is based on various factors, this recommendation is not a guarantee of employment.
Teachers have the right to Association advice throughout the entire process. If you have any questions about an evaluation or the process of supervision that you believe may be leading to an evaluation, please call TES for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
If you have been informed that your principal will be conducting a formal evaluation of your teaching practice, specific processes must be followed that provide safeguards for teachers. For contextual advice, call Teacher Employment Services at 1-800-232-7208. #WEAREATA
New Year, New Financial You!
Benefits of the RRSP
Many of us have resolved to improve our financial hygiene in 2022. An excellent way to clean up on a large income tax return is by investing in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). RRSPs are tax-deferred, which means that any money you contribute will be exempt from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) taxes the year you make the deposit. You will not be taxed until you make withdrawals. Thus, RRSPs are a great mechanism to reduce a current-year tax bill.
Because tax-deferred does not mean tax-free, you will eventually have to pay taxes when you withdraw your money later in retirement. By the time you do so, your income will almost certainly be less, and your tax rate will be lower.
Check Your Contribution Room—You May Have More Than You Think!
• Canadians can contribute 18 per cent of their salaries to a maximum of $29,210 (for 2022) and$27,830 (for 2021) to RRSPs.
• Canadians with pension plans, such as Alberta teachers, have an amount called the pension adjustment (PA) that is deducted from the RRSP contribution limit.
• The PA is the estimated value of the pension benefits a person has earned during the year and is deducted from their RRSP room.
• CRA established the PA to level the playing field for pensioned and nonpensioned Canadians alike. The higher the value of your pension, the higher your PA amount will be.
• Your PA amount can be found in Box 52 of your T4 (Statement of Remuneration Paid). Most teachers have between $2,000 and $3,000 RRSP room after the PA is deducted.
How the ATA Group RRSP Payroll Deduction Works
• Your RRSP contribution is taken off your paycheque by your employer BEFORE taxes. You are then taxed on the remainder of your pay.
• Immediate Tax Savings means that you receive your tax “refund” on that same paycheque.
• Your investment grows in the background, often without you even noticing!
• A group RRSP gives you access to a wide range of investment options, and the ATA Group RRSP (administered by Capital Estate Planning) has a very competitive fee structure.
Your Spouse or Partner Has Access Too, Personally or Through a Spousal Plan!
• It is always a good idea to look at both yours and your spouse’s/partner’s bigger picture: combined income and retirement savings plans when planning for your financial future.
• To set up a Spousal Group RRSP: download, print and fill out the ATA Group RRSP application form and the Spousal RRSP Contribution Details form (this form indicates the source of contributions in a spousal plan). (See link below.)
March 1, 2022 is the deadline for contributing to an RRSP for the 2021 tax year. The ATA Group RRSP features no front-end, set-up, redemption or commission fees. www.capitalplanning.ca/ata-members/investments/ata-registered-retirement-savings-plan
Updates from ATA Provincial