With the onset of a new school year, the thoughts of teachers and school leaders turn to professional growth. There are three key documents that guide teachers’ professional growth: the Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation Policy (TGSEP), the Leadership Quality Standard (LQS) for those teachers who are school leaders, and the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) for those teachers who are working in classrooms.
This past Sept. 1, a new LQS and a revised TQS came into effect. The now familiar LQS document (yellow) and the TQS document (green), both published by Alberta Education, each contain a standard supported by a number of competencies — nine in the case of the LQS and six in the case of the TQS.
While some of the content of the competencies when compared to the knowledge, skills and attributes of the previous TQS may seem familiar to school leaders and teachers, some of the content is new. A close read of both documents, including time for reflection, is required to fully understand and appreciate what is required of school leaders and teachers in terms of day-to-day practice.
The provincial TGSEP establishes a requirement for all school authorities to have a policy that is consistent with the provincial policy. The policy speaks about supervision and specifies the circumstances under which a teacher could expect to undergo an evaluation. It also compels all teachers who are working under a probationary or continuing employment contract or otherwise required by school board policy to develop an annual Professional Growth Plan (PGP). The PGP must first and foremost reflect the professional development needs of the individual teacher in relationship to the TQS. The PGP may be part of a multi-year plan. The plan may also be based on a program of supervising a student teacher or mentoring a teacher.
When setting their own growth goals, teachers are required to consider the education plans of the school, the school authority and the government. Teachers must submit their PGP to their principal by a specified date. Failing to submit a plan can result in a disciplinary action. It is important to note that a PGP cannot be used as part of an evaluation process unless the teacher agrees.
The provincial TGSEP is currently under revision. It is expected that sometime this school year a modified policy will be released by the minister and will be reflective of school leaders and their new standard. ❚
Tools and information
The Association has developed a self-reflection tool to assist school leaders and teachers in reflecting on the revised TQS and new LQS and their respective standard and competencies when developing a PGP. It is available in English and French. Information about the tools and the tools themselves can be found at www.teachers.ab.ca >My ATA>Professional Growth Plans.
If you have any questions about the LQS, TQS, their respective competencies or PGPs, please contact the Professional Development Program area for information or assistance at email@example.com.