Rhode Island Federation of Teacher and Health Professionals
356 Smith Street, Providence, Rl 02908
P (401) 273-9800 F (401) 331-8815

RIFTHP Innovation Fund Initiative on Teacher Evaluation

In September, 2009, the RIFTHP was awarded a $200,000 AFT Innovation Fund grant to collaboratively develop a "state-of-the-art" comprehensive teacher evaluation and support system.  This grant was one of 7 grants awarded by the AFT to State Federations and locals working on important, innovative ideas in education.  126 proposals were received, making this award to the RIFTHP a significant accomplishment.


The RIFTHP Innovation Initiative brings together labor and management teams from 6 RIFTHP urban locals:  Central Falls, Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick and Woonsocket to design a rigorous evaluation and support system aligned with the RI Professional Teaching Standards, the RI Educator Evaluation System Standards that includes multiple measures of teacher effectiveness and student achievement.  The Design Team is made up of local presidents and superintendents, along with additional union leaders and administrators from the six districts.  Led by RIFTHP Director of Professional Issues, Colleen Callahan and supported by RIFTHP President Marcia Reback, RIDE's Office of Educator Quality staff, and a team of national experts, the Design Team meets monthly to assess their current systems, learn about related RIDE initiatives, examine national models and frame a proposed model for adoption in each local district.  


The Innovation grant provides funding for the release of Design Team members, technical assistance from national experts, awareness / training sessions for Building Representatives and Administrators as well as initial implementation training.


The goal of the initiative is to design, adopt and implement a teacher evaluation and support system that is rigorous, fair and reliable and focused on improving teacher effectiveness and student learning. The timing of this initiative could not be better, considering RIDE's mandate to districts to retool their educator evaluation systems by the 2011 / 2012 school year. The Innovation grant is enabling the RIFTHP and its partner locals to take the lead on this important work, to collaborate with administrators and RIDE in doing so, and in preserving teacher voice in the determination of effectiveness and support.