July 23, 2010

Educator Assessments Released 

An open letter to the community on IMPACT performance assessments.

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Dear DCPS Parents and Family Members,

By the end of the summer, DCPS will have taken two important steps in our landmark efforts to ensure that every child in every school has an excellent teacher in every classroom: We have signed a new contract with the Washington Teachers Union, and today we released information regarding the scores from our teacher performance evaluation system, IMPACT.

Many of you are familiar with IMPACT and the new contract, but I want to reach out personally to explain how the combination of these two reform-based initiatives will further our goal of giving every DCPS student a first-class education.

What is IMPACT?
At the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, DCPS implemented the IMPACT system to assess the performance of teachers and other school-based staff, many of whom had never been formally evaluated. All teachers received assessments on a regular basis throughout the school year. Full year evaluations are now complete, and this month teachers will receive their IMPACT scores.

How are teachers assessed and supported using IMPACT?
IMPACT was created with the input of hundreds of DCPS teachers and is a rigorous, fair and effective way to measure teacher performance. Scoring is based on objective measures of student growth and achievement, as well as classroom practices observed by administrators and master educators.

All teachers will receive a rating: highly effective, effective, minimally effective, or ineffective. Teachers rated highly effective represent the best of DCPS teachers, and their methods will be used as models for other teachers throughout the school system. Teachers who are rated ineffective are subject to dismissal. While it is never easy to dismiss a teacher, we must ensure that every DCPS student has a chance to succeed, and that chance is greatly diminished if that student’s teacher isn’t getting the job done.

How do IMPACT and the new contract work together?
We have been using IMPACT to evaluate and support teachers, offering them clear expectations and benchmarks for success, as well as feedback on their performance. We believe that teachers should be rewarded when their students make academic gains that help prepare them for high school, college and beyond, and under the new contract, teachers’ salaries can be connected to how effectively they teach. Teachers who receive a rating of highly effective with be rewarded with higher earnings.

How will this affect your child’s learning?
After your direction and inspiration as parents and family members, effective teachers exert the greatest influence on student learning. We are working to ensure that all DCPS students are in classrooms with effective teachers. With the help of IMPACT and the new teacher contract, DCPS educators are becoming the best they can be.

You can find more information about the IMPACT evaluation system and the new teacher contracts online or by reaching out to your school’s principal. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think of IMPACT, the new contract or any other education matter, by e-mailing us at ParentsAsk@dc.gov.

As always, thank you for all you do on behalf of your child’s education and future.


Michelle Rhee

For more information about IMPACT, please see these following resources:


Inside DCPS Highlights.


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