Step 2: Goals

Goal

Each evaluation cycle, you will need at least one Professional Practice Goal (how you teach/improve your practice) and at least one Student Learning Goal (an area the students will improve upon over the course of the year).  It is up to you if you would like to have more than one goal in each of these areas.

In creating a Professional Practice Goal, start with a Self-Assessment.  More information on the Self-Assessment process can be found on this website in the Step 1: Self-Assessment section.

The MA DESE Teacher and Principal Cabinets produced the following video to support understanding of the Goal Setting and Educator Plan Formulation phases of the evaluation cycle.

I also like the following step-by-step guide from MA DESE that shows the process taken by one teacher to craft a Professional Practice Goal.  Your goal may or may not take wording directly from the rubric, but the rubric can be helpful in crafting your goal.

SMART Goals Step by Step DESE

Remember that your goal should meet the S.M.A.R.T. framework.

Specific and Strategic:  Outline the behaviors and/or products that will be the outcome of your goal.  Be sure to narrow the scope of your goal – it is better to focus on a specific skill or behavior and do well than to attempt to make great leaps in too many areas.  (See Attainable, below)

Measurable: How will you and the evaluator know that you have met your goal?  This does not need to be a benchmark measurement.  You should not write goals that include statements such as “80% of students will score at or above…” when writing student learning goals.  Student learning goals are more appropriately written in the form of “Students will demonstrate improvement in…”  Your measurements can then be quantitative or qualitative as you collect data over the course of the evaluation year or cycle and be the basis for conversations with your evaluator during your formative and summative meetings.

Action-Oriented and Attainable:  You need to DO something as part of your goal – implement a new strategy, create a product, etc.  Set reasonable expectations.  You are working on continuous improvement toward a rigorous standard in both student learning and professional practice goals.

Relevant:  Your professional practice goal should be related to your core practice.  Again, take a look at the appropriate rubric to see that your goal aligns with your responsibilities as an educator.  Student learning goals should relate to areas where your students demonstrate a need.

Timely / Time-bound:  Set target dates and benchmarks or determine how frequently the action will occur.  Depending upon the nature of your goal and educator plan (1-year or 2-year), you may decide to stretch your actions over two years with a review of your progress at the mid-cycle formative assessment.

Resources: This is not included in the SMART goal framework but is part of the goal report.  Think about what you might need to be successful.  Is there a conference or professional development class that would help you develop needed skills?  A book or other materials that would help you accomplish your task?  These should go in the Resources section of the goal form.

Final Thoughts

The start of the school year is a hectic time and it may be difficult to put aside time for reflection on your professional practice at this time.  While the deadline for professional practice and student learning goals is October 1st,  consider scheduling time for reflecting and building your next set of professional practice goals at the end of the school year for the start of next year as it will be easier to reflect on your professional strengths as this school year comes to an end.

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