The purpose of a performance improvement plan, or PIP, is to assist the teacher in attaining a satisfactory level of performance on a criterion. It should not be a punitive or disciplinary document. The 2010 MSTA Assembly of Delegates adopted resolutions supporting the establishment of “clear, research-based standards for teacher performance improvement plans based on local…PBTE…criteria.” A well-written PIP should identify the Performance Based Teacher Evaluation Standard that needs improvement and should include a selection of specific criteria that need improvement. These criteria should come from the locally developed PBTE.
Clearly defined and obtainable goals should be documented for achieving the PIP objective(s). One well-established and recognizable means of denoting clearly defined and obtainable goals is SMART. SMART is an acronym for goals that are: S–specific, sustainable; M–measurable, meaningful; A–attainable, agreed upon; R–resultsoriented, realistic; and T–time-based, trackable. Your PIP also should have clearly defined procedures for obtaining each objective including: 1) a plan to expand the knowledge base; 2) a plan for implementation; 3) an analysis of the plan’s impact on the teacher’s performance; 4) an analysis of the plan’s impact on student success; and 5) target dates for completion of the objective(s).
Best practices for a successful PIP include collaboration between the administrator and teacher. At a minimum, that collaboration includes writing clear and measurable objectives for improvement and providing the resources to improve. Administrators should state within the PIP a reasonable and adequate amount of time for improvement, and specify scheduled conferences throughout the duration of the plan to coach the educator toward improvement. Ideally, the PIP would be removed from the educator’s file when it is completed successfully. MSTA recognizes that a teacher who has a PIP will be more likely to succeed in that plan if the purposes, goals, and implementation process are objective. Although many PIPs do not reflect the objectivity which is outlined above, our field service coordinators have knowledge and experience in attending PIP meetings and working with administrators. They assist our members in obtaining and implementing a more objective PIP so that you can attain the plan’s goals and improve performance.