Work with struggling teachers who require intensive support

The Prescriptive Plan for Assistance (PPA)
HISD Executive Sponsors:
Julie Baker, Chief Major Projects Officer
Ann Best, Chief Human Resources Officer
Alicia Thomas, Chief Academic Officer
By the end of today‘s session you will understand:
 How to draft effective PPAs
 How to address common scenarios
When you see this icon, refer to Mr. South’s PPA.
When you see this icon, refer to the Activity Worksheet.
When you see this icon, refer to the Sample Memoranda.
Introduction to the PPA
What is the PPA?
 Formally known as “Intervention Plans” or “Growth Plans”: The PPA
replaces the TINA and any other intervention/growth plan being
used at individual school sites.
 Appraiser driven: Appraiser determines placement on a PPA and
drives its development.
 A living document: Appraisers and teachers will check-in to review
the teacher’s progress in the areas identified, and modify the plan
 Applies to all Instructional Practice and some Professional
Expectations criteria: Appraisers may develop a PPA for all IP criteria
and PR-2 and PR-7.
When is a PPA developed?
The PPA is developed for:
any individual for whom the appraiser feels as though his or her performance
warrants prescriptive assistance
Note that if a teacher does not start the year on a PPA, yet their performance
becomes a concern, a PPA should be developed no later than October 31, 2011, in
order to allow time for meaningful support and development to occur. Of course,
teachers can be placed on PPAs later in the year, but earlier placement is preferred.
The PPA includes several elements, designed to provide
targeted and timely support to teachers.
1. Focus Area
2. Professional Development Target
3. Expected Impact
4. Professional Development Activity
5. Action Steps
6. Monitoring Action Steps that include:
• Supports to achieve action steps
• Check-in date
• Status of action step
• Next steps
7. Evidence or lack of changes in teacher behavior/student outcomes
8. Outcome for Professional Development Activity and Rationale
Sample PPA
Teacher: Mr. South, 5th grade teacher
Appraiser: Principal North, HISD Elementary
All names and corresponding information are fictitious and created for training purposes only.
Element 1: Focus Area
Focus Area (Criterion)
Definition: Drawn directly from the Instructional Practice criteria or some of the
Professional Expectations criteria (PR-2 and PR-7) that are appropriate.
Key Considerations
Before selecting a focus area, consider the teacher’s current instructional
practice and professionalism by reviewing all available evidence (observations,
walkthroughs, teacher-submitted evidence, etc.).
If a teacher has more than one focus area, make sure to identify and
communicate all the focus areas for the PPA, even if the teacher will only work
on one area at a time in a given time period.
See Sample PPA for Mr. South’s Focus Area.
Element 2: Professional Development Target
Professional Development Target
Definition: Professional Development Targets are specific and measureable
targets for changes in teacher or student performance and/or behavior that are
aligned to the indicators in the Instructional Practice and Professional Expectations
What does an effective Professional Development Target include?
Specific and measureable Professional Development Targets may include:
• Rationale: Sources of evidence used to identify an area for development
Activity: Specific activity teacher engages in to reach objective/outcome
Objective/Outcome: Broad instructional or professionalism
objective/outcome targeted by the goal
See Sample PPA for Mr. South’s Professional Development Target.
Element 3: Expected Impact
Expected Impact on Student Behavior/Performance or Community
Definition: This section describes the expected change in the teacher’s
performance and the impact on students as a result of achieving the Professional
Development Target.
TIP: Appraisers may ask themselves, “What change do I expect to see in the
teacher’s students?”
Element 4: Professional Development Activity
Professional Development Activity
Definition: Professional development activities are those that the teacher will take
to improve practice in the focus area. Focus should be placed on individualized
and targeted professional activities as opposed to district-wide learning sessions.
What are some examples of good professional development activities?
Some examples of activities that may benefit teachers on a PPA may include:
• Team teaching opportunities
• Peer observations
• Professional Learning Communities or Critical Friends Groups
Additional examples of professional development activities can also be found at:
Campus-Based Professional Development: A Principal’s Handbook
See Sample PPA to see Mr. South’s professional development activity.
Element 5: Action Steps
Action Steps
Definition: This section describes all actions required to show application of
learning and new strategies, after the professional development activity is
What are characteristics of effective action steps?
Clear: Each action step should provide a clear road map for successful
implementation of the professional development activity.
Encourage Appraiser-Teacher Collaboration: It is recommended that
appraisers work side-by-side with the teacher to promote success with each
action step.
Promote Feedback: As the teacher works through each action step,
appraisers may provide continuous feedback regarding progress toward the
expected change.
Element 5: Action Steps
Imagine you are Principal North and must determine Mr. South’s action steps.
What should Mr. South’s action steps be?
Using the Activity Worksheet, draft the action steps for Mr. South considering
the following question:
What is the step-by-step process that needs to occur after identifying the
professional development activity
to make sure that Mr. South incorporates lessons learned from the
activity into his practice?
See Sample PPA for the action steps Principal North drafted.
Element 6: Monitoring Action Steps
Monitoring the Action Steps
To effectively monitor the completion of an action step, the appraiser
completes the following:
• Supports to Achieve Action Steps: Section describes any support necessary
for the teacher to complete the action step. Examples of supports may
• Scheduling a peer or off-site observation
• Planning to cover classes
• Registering and paying for off-site training
• Scheduling an announced observation to provide formative feedback (not
to be included in the teacher’s appraisal)
Check-in Dates: Section establishes a projected date for completion of each
action step and a check-in with the appraiser.
Status of Action Steps: Section indicates whether an action step was MET/ON
Next Steps: Appraiser completes only if teacher did not meet an action step,
and describes concrete follow-up action.
Element 6: Monitoring Action Steps (continued)
Monitoring the Action Steps (continued): Documentation
Appraisers must document each action step that a teacher has not completed
through a memorandum that includes the following:
Description of the action step
Timeline that teacher had to complete the action step (start and end date)
Reason(s) why the teacher did not meet the action step
Any follow-up directive from the appraiser
Teachers are required to acknowledge receipt of all performance information
related to their appraisal, including memoranda.
A teacher acknowledges receipt by signing and dating the memorandum.
Acknowledgement does not imply agreement.
If the action step was met, the teacher initials and dates beside the Notes
column. The appraiser gives a copy of the changes to the teacher and keeps the
original for later use.
If a teacher refuses to acknowledge receipt of the memorandum:
Ask a witness to sign and verify that the teacher received a copy of the
memorandum, but refused to sign for it
See Sample Memoranda.
How will Principal North monitor Mr. South’s action steps, considering each
question below?
Supports to Achieve Action Step: What types of supports can I provide Mr.
South to support him in accomplishing the action step?
Check-in Date: Is this a reasonable amount of time for Mr. South to
complete the action step? Did I determine a date and time to check-in with
Mr. South on progress made? Is this date/time on my calendar?
Status of Action Step: Do I have evidence to support the status I assigned?
Next Steps: If Mr. South didn’t meet the action step, what adjustments can
we make to support him in doing so?
See Sample PPA for how Principal North chose to monitor each action
Element 7: Evidence
Evidence or Lack of Changes in Teacher Behavior/Student Outcome
Definition: In this section, the appraiser includes evidence indicating the extent to
which the teacher’s implementation of the professional development activity
showed a change in teacher behavior and student behavior/outcomes.
Key Considerations
Appraisers may consider the following question when completing this section
of the PPA:
Does the evidence gathered during the walkthrough/observation describe a
change in teacher behavior/student performance?
NOTE: Appraisers may remove a teacher from a PPA only if the appraiser deems
the teacher has shown sufficient improvements based on evidence gathered.
See Sample PPA for evidence Principal North gathered.
Element 8: Outcome for Professional Development Activity and
Outcome for Professional Development Activity and Rationale
Definition: In this section, appraiser indicates whether expected outcomes were
met or not met, and explains the rationale for why the teacher met or did not
meet the expected outcomes of the professional development activity.
Key Considerations
Appraisers may consider the following questions when completing this section
of the PPA:
• What evidence do I have to support that the teacher’s behavior/performance
If the teacher successfully met the requirements, are there other areas where
the teacher is struggling and in need of a PPA?
See Sample PPA for the outcome and rationale in Mr. South’s PPA.
Determining whether to close a PPA
Key Considerations
In order to determine whether a teacher has successfully completed the PPA,
consider the following questions:
• What evidence do I have to support that the teacher’s behavior changed in
all focus areas that the teacher required prescriptive assistance?
What evidence do I have to support that student outcomes have changed in
all of the teacher’s focus areas?
If you have sufficient evidence to show that a teacher has successfully
demonstrated a change in his or her behavior and in student outcomes, draft a
memorandum that closes the PPA, if there are no other areas of concern.
If you do not have specific evidence to show that a teacher has successfully
demonstrated a change in behavior and in student outcomes, or if there are
other areas the teacher needs to develop, draft a memorandum that extends
the PPA.
See Sample Memoranda.
Document Maintenance
Document Maintenance
The PPA is an integral part of the documentation process and appraisal
system and it should be maintained with confidentiality and professionalism
in the teacher’s appraisal file at the campus.
A teacher’s PPA file should contain the following:
1. All accompanying documents, such as memoranda, letters, etc.
2. Memoranda specific to the PPA should be attached.
Common PPA Scenarios
Common Scenario 1
Principal North has gathered evidence that shows Mr. South has failed to meet
an action step. What can Principal North do?
Adjust the action step: If a teacher is not meeting an action step you may
consider the following:
• Adjust the timeline: Was the timeline set for the teacher to complete the action step
reasonable? If not, what adjustments can be made?
• Adjust the types of support: Does the teacher need different types of supports to
facilitate success? If so, what types of supports can you provide?
• Adjust the professional development activity: Does the teacher need a different
professional development activity to facilitate success?
Document adjustments:
• Write a memorandum: Document the action step not met, timeline missed, reason(s)
the teacher did not meet the action step, and any adjustments made.
• Complete the “Next Steps” section: Include adjustments made to a teacher’s action
step and obtain the teacher’s signature and date of receipt on the form.
Common Scenario 2
Mr. South has completed all action steps, but Principal North has gathered
evidence that shows that Mr. South has not demonstrated the required change
in his performance and student outcomes. As a result, Mr. South has not met
his professional development target. What is Principal North to do?
1. Determine why teacher did not demonstrate change in practice: Principal North
needs to refer to the action steps and determine why the process failed.
(Inappropriate professional development or support; insufficient feedback and
guidance; lack of teacher response)
2. Extend the PPA: Principal North should extend the PPA using the same Focus Area, but
may consider drafting a different Professional Development Target or Professional
Development Activity.
3. Document through a memorandum: Principal North should write a memorandum
explaining why Mr. South did not demonstrate change in his practice, the focus area
was not successfully completed, and that the PPA is being extended.
Common Scenario 3
Principal North focused Mr. South’s PPA on “I-2: Checks for student
understanding and responds to student misunderstanding” because he did
not want to overwhelm Mr. South.
Mr. South has additional areas he is struggling in, including “I-4: Engages
students in work that develops higher-level thinking skills.”
Principal North gathered information that Mr. South met his professional
development target for I-2. Is Mr. South still on a PPA?
Principal North will extend the PPA for Mr. South with I-4 as a Focus Area.
Remember that Principal North chose one focus area to avoid overwhelming Mr.
South. Even though Mr. South is well on his way to improving his practice, there
is evidence that he still needs the guidance of a PPA for continued success.
TIP: In your initial conversation with the teacher, clarify all the focus areas the
teacher will work on but they will focus only on a few at one time.
Thank you
This concludes the training for writing effective PPAs.
If you need further assistance, please email the Performance Management team
at [email protected] or call (713) 556-6903.

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