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I have been working on teacher evaluations this week.  But last week, I was reading parent input from our program evaluations.  We ask 10 questions about our program with ratings of Excellent, Good, or Needs Improvement.  Then there is space provided for comments on our program strengths and ideas for improving our program.  We get very high marks on most evaluations and consistent feedback that we have great teachers.  Then there are the occasional items that need improvement.  This year, those items were consistent – we need to do a better job communicating with our parents about what is happening in the classroom and reporting about the growth and development of individual children.  This point was made over and over and I grew weary.  As I began to write comments and goals for the teacher evaluations, I saw an opportunity emerge.  Our families see that their children are happy, engaged, and learning in the classroom.  That means teachers are doing good work.  What they want is to hear about that good work.  Isn’t that great?  They want us to share with them, to include them, to help them see what it is that makes their children love coming to school.  It is risky, opening up the doors and asking folks to look closely at what we do.   Maybe evaluation can become more than a vehicle to set goals and makes changes.  Maybe evaluation can be a source of celebration.

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