Cincinnati's Peer Assistance and Evaluation Program (PAEP) addresses problems that vex many school districts: how to find sufficient time to evaluate teachers, help those who are inexperienced or aren't performing up to par, and avoid a protracted dismissal process for those who fail to improve. PAEP, like similar programs in a handful of other districts across the nation, solves these problems by empowering teachers to evaluate and monitor their own ranks.
Under PAEP, experienced teachers are released from classroom duties for two years to supervise and assist new teachers, as well as evaluate and support veteran teachers who are experiencing difficulties in their classrooms. These teachers, known as "consulting teachers" or "CTs," are trained in clinical supervision and curriculum development and observe models of effective teaching at the district's professional development academy.
They are then assigned a maximum of fourteen new and veteran teachers and spend between forty to one-hundred hours with each one, observing and commenting on their practice, assisting in the design of curricula and assessments, modeling lesson plans, and helping establish discipline procedures.
Both teachers and administrators say the program is achieving its goal of improving the competency of the district's teachers. At the same time, it has improved relations between the district and its teachers' union and made it easier to dismiss teachers who fail to make agreed-upon improvements.