"If the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) are the structure, the curriculum or modules are the floors, then the teachers are the elevators in my construction analogy moving the students from one floor to another," said Mains. "And elevators need to be inspected."
The Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) is the state's system for reviewing teachers and principals on an annual basis. It was an initiative of the governor and was legislated a couple of years ago. APPR is not the Common Core. Mains described it as "a reform that happens to be going on in our schools at the same time the Common Core is being rolled out.
"It has raised the level of concern in our teachers and principals because they believe how well they implement the Common Core will be reflected on their evaluation."
The APPR consists of three parts: 60 percent based on observation by a supervisor, 20 percent based on student growth for state assessments and 20 percent from local measures.
Teachers and principals receive a final rating of highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective based on the degree to which they demonstrate the ability to meet rigorous expectations for teaching and learning.
"My concern is that, before last year, few districts have had a pattern of frequent, rigorous evaluations. My worry is that APPR complicates the execution of the Common Core because at a time when we need to do things differently and possibly experiment and make mistakes, we have increased scrutiny and raised anxiety levels," said Mains. "However, teaching needs to change. I told my staff at the beginning of the year how we have been working has not done a good enough job. We not only need to teach a subject differently, but how we teach needs to change too. The best way for teaching to change is with frequent feedback and observations and a clear description of higher standards for the adults. The APPR process of evaluation with feedback can be a helpful tool to ensure our students' success."