State Seeks Input on Teachers

The North Dakota Department of Instruction (DPI) is asking for all interested people to provide input on the new proposed guidelines for the professional evaluations of teachers and principals.

After several districts across the state failed to meet the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act, the state applied for a waiver from the act.
Submitting the waiver means the state must have established uniform guidelines for the evaluations. A DPI advisory committee worked from October, 2011, to July to develop the proposed guidelines.

Valley City Public Schools Superintendent Dean Koppelman said currently the evaluation criteria differs from district to district among the 182 districts in the state, adding he and his colleagues have a lot of interest in the DPI project.

“A lot of educators – from what I’ve been hearing – are going to be looking at this and looking to submit comments,” he said. “From meetings I’ve been to it’s been under a lot of discussion by teachers and administrators, so I have a hunch they are going to get quite a bit of input.”

Under the North Dakota Century Code 15.1-15-01 any teacher with three years or less of employment is required to have two written reviews – the first by Dec. 15 and the second by March 15 – regardless of lifetime teaching experience. After three years teachers will receive one evaluation a year for the remainder of their career in the district.

Principals are responsible for the teacher evaluations in their respective school buildings, and after some observation the principal meets with the teacher to discuss goals, student progress, technology use in the classroom, classroom management and communication with parents and administration.

Principals are evaluated by the school district’s superintendent. Koppelman said he evaluates Valley City principals on the same schedule that teachers are evaluated.

“When I’m in a building I’m constantly observing; my ears are listening, my eyes are seeing, my nose is smelling,” Koppelman said. “I like to catch people doing good things and I see evaluations as a potential to growth. In the case of building principals, I’m continually observing them throughout the year.”

Koppleman said superintendents are also evaluated twice a year every year by the school board, and ultimately, school boards are evaluated by the voters who elect or re-elect members.

The DPI guidelines and public comment forms are available online at