The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified a supervision model consisting of two modes that will result in the professional development of educators: Formal Observation and Differentiated Supervision.
Formal Observation of the teacher’s practice is accomplished through formal and informal observations measured by research-supported best practices. The collaborative reflections of the observational data will focus the efforts of the teacher on a professional development plan to improve instructional practices and student achievement. Much has changed about the teacher observation process in public education and society. The former model of observation was intended solely for evaluation; was only valuable for a “snap shot” view of what was occurring in the classroom; and was not intended to improve instruction, especially from a self-reflective, self-monitoring approach.
Differentiated Supervision recognizes the level of experience, the effectiveness, and professionalism of teachers as well as the intensity and time commitment to Formal Observation. In Differentiated Supervision, professional employees develop an action plan for professional development unique to their needs and interests. We agree that Differentiated Supervision is a path to professional growth; and we believe and support that supervision is an intentional process that is ongoing and systemic. We know that it must be integrated within school improvement planning and it must focus on student achievement. It must be based on well-documented research, and it must be tailored to the needs of each professional participant.