Learning from Ohio’s best teachers: A homegrown model to improve our schools

October 7, 2008

In 1981, a groundbreaking Toledo program commonly known as Peer Assistance and Review created a model for teacher support and development that has fostered new relationships among teachers and administrators. Columbus and Cincinnati followed with their own programs. Since then, about 70 districts nationally have put similar efforts in place, often laying the foundation for other new ways to improve teaching and learning.

These programs release experienced, qualified teachers from classroom duties to help new teachers and struggling veteran teachers develop and improve their skills. These mentors also evaluate their peers, often recommending them for dismissal if they don’t make the grade.

This study by Policy Matters Ohio seeks to bring Peer Assistance and Review, or PAR, to the attention of state policymakers and other stakeholders as the administration of Gov. Ted Strickland focuses its attention on improving Ohio’s public education system; in his 2008 state of the state speech, the Governor highlighted the need to learn from Ohio’s best teachers, those who know “what works best in the classroom.” PAR, with its reliance on teacher leaders, provides just this opportunity. Policy Matters recommends that the Strickland administration and the Ohio Department of Education develop a pilot program to begin to expand PAR statewide.

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