August 27, 2010

NYSUT's Innovation Initiative

Source:  NYSUT Research and Educational Services
nysut's innovation initiative

About NYSUT's Innovation Initiative:

What is it?

NYSUT is one of seven state unions utilizing a grant from the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund to develop bold new initiatives in public schools. The three-year grant program is supported by union funding and major foundation donors.

The framework

A consortium of unions and school districts from New York is working together to develop a more rigorous and meaningful approach to teacher evaluation. Drawing upon research and practitioners' experience, NYSUT's Innovation Initiative aims to create, pilot and study a new system by linking four critical elements:

  • new teaching standards n a comprehensive teacher evaluation system
  • peer assistance/professional development support n teaching and learning conditions.

New York state school district design teams

Local union and school district teams from Albany, Hempstead, Marlboro, North Syracuse and Plattsburgh are developing the critical components of a new evaluation option, with guidance from national experts. Kenmore Teachers Association and Syracuse TA, which have peer assistance and review programs in place, are providing technical assistance.


The three-year project will field-test and implement a new evaluation model. For more information about participating in the pilot, send an e-mail to

Why Teacher Evaluation Matters:

Every child deserves a quality teacher in the classroom. Research confirms that a teacher's effectiveness is the single most important factor in student achievement. But do we know which teachers are most effective? Or what makes some teachers more effective than others? Meaningful evaluation, constructive feedback and ongoing professional development are at the heart of teacher effectiveness and accountability.

Through NYSUT's Innovation Initiative, several pilot school district labor-management teams are working together to build a model comprehensive teacher evaluation system - from the ground up. This new system will be based on multiple measures to capture the range of skills and abilities that define teacher effectiveness. With few models to draw from and guide our work, our goal is to work together - teachers and administrators - with national experts to develop a more rigorous and meaningful model of teacher evaluation.

This union-led initiative is an unprecedented opportunity for educators to take the lead in improving teaching practice and student learning through collective work, inquiry and leadership - innovation that works for our schools.