The PAR (Peer Assistance and Review) Program is an intervention program designed to help improve the performance of experienced teachers who are having serious difficulties in the performance of their professional responsibilities.

This help is provided through peer assistance from a Consulting Teacher (CT). The CT works directly with the struggling teacher to provide constructive and intensive intervention. The goal of the PAR program is to develop and maintain the highest caliber teaching staff.

As part of APS and ATF’s commitment to provide a continuum of support for teachers, the district and union created the Mentor Program and the PAR Program. The programs are related. The Mentor Program was co-designed and is run by the APS/ATF/UNM Partnership Program. It provides comprehensive support to beginning teachers. The PAR Program provides suppor to struggling teachers.

If you have questions about PAR, please contact the ATF office at 262-2657.

American Educator Highlights Peer Assistance and Review
At the AFT’s 2008 convention, delegates overwhelmingly passed a resolution that highlighted the benefits of peer assistance and review (PAR), and called on the national union to support locals interested in creating their own PAR program for new teachers. Created via collective bargaining by the former president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, Dal Lawrence, PAR is a program in which specially trained teachers mentor and evaluate new teachers; depending on the locally negotiated details, they may also assist veteran teachers. The Fall 2008 issue ofAmerican Educator explains why PAR is an improvement over traditional teacher evaluation by a principal, and how it helps teachers take the lead in guiding and guarding the teaching profession.

Given the growing popularity of value-added models (which use complex statistics to estimate how much teachers contribute to gains in students’ test scores), some have argued that we don’t need traditional, principal-driven teacher evaluation or peer assistance and review. But, as explained in an article by Harvard University professor Daniel Koretz, although value-added models do offer some useful information, they should not be used to make any high-stakes decisions. In his words, “value-added-based rankings of teachers are highly error-prone.”

Rounding out the new issue is an article on how scientifically based reading instruction is dramatically increasing student achievement in Richmond, Va., especially with disadvantaged students.
[Jennifer Dubin]
September 22, 2008.