Maryland provides keys to implementing evaluation systems
Dear Friends:

Maryland is taking a systematic building block approach to increasing the capacities needed at school, district, and state levels to understand, develop, and implement new Teacher and Principal Evaluation (TPE) systems effectively. Maryland also emphasizes the importance of building a constituency that is informed and supportive of an instructionally-focused evaluation reform.

What are some of the key elements of Maryland's strategy?
  • Capacity: School and District Levels. Using a model of providing technical assistance to cross-positional teams from all districts, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) sponsors training that is helping to build the capacity of teachers, principals and executive officers to implement TPE with fidelity and quality. This approach ensures that different groups of practitioners hear the same things and learn the same skills at the same time.
  • Research. MSDE's strategy is grounded in the use of evidence. MSDE's framework draws on the major research studies on SLOs. Moreover, MSDE is also partnering with CTAC and WestEd, through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center (MACC at WestEd), to use research to guide continuous improvements in TPE implementation. For example, the recent report, Change in Practice in Maryland, shows that TPE implementation is generating changes in practice and perception. With each year of implementation, both principals and teachers are increasingly more positive about TPE.
  • Collaboration with Substance. In a landmark agreement, leaders of eight Maryland education organizations coalesced and are supporting the implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs), a key component of the new teacher and principal evaluation system. This level of collaboration is unprecedented at the statewide level.
  • Teacher SLO Cadre. The Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) has created and supports a diverse cadre of two member leaders per district who share their expertise with colleagues, administrators, and parents. MSEA provides training and resources to cadre members on an ongoing basis.
  • Higher Education. MSDE sponsors SLO-related trainings for institutions of higher education that have preparatory programs for, respectively, teachers and principals. These include 22 teacher preparation programs, 10 alternative preparation programs, and 15 principal preparation programs.
  • Promising Principals. MSDE conducts a year-long Promising Principals Academy, which annually includes 48 top assistant principals, two from every LEA in the state. The Academy focuses on developing core leadership knowledge and skills, and provides training on using SLOs and observations to support and strengthen instruction.
  • Sustainability Grants. MSDE also provided Sustainability Grants over a three year period which districts used for deepening SLO work, improving communication strategies, aligning TPE models to Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards and the new PARCC assessment, and refining TPE models. The State continues to utilitze partners, like CTAC, to sustain this work.
CTAC is providing technical assistance and training to Maryland in the areas described above. To learn more about ways to implement instructionally-focused evaluation systems that improve teacher practice and student learning, contact us at (617) 423-1444 or

Best Regards,
William J. Slotnik
Founder and Executive Director
Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC)