Peer Assistance & Review (PAR) was established in 1981 in Toledo, Ohio and has been successfully implemented in several school districts across the country, including Rochester, New York; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Montgomery County, Maryland. In June 2014, the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teacher’s Union established a PAR pilot program.
The Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program is designed to support and evaluate teachers who have not yet reached proficiency on the EDFS rubric. Instead of being evaluated solely by an administrator, participating teachers can opt to have a veteran teacher (called a Consulting Teacher or CT) visit their classroom on a regular basis to serve as both coach and evaluator.
The goal of PAR is to strengthen student learning and teacher performance across the district while also creating an evaluation model that feels fair, transparent and humane to all stakeholders. PAR is designed to provide mentoring and support to help teachers meet proficiency standards. Districts that have adopted PAR say that it strengthens instruction, increases teacher leadership, and helps strengthen the relationship between the union and district and the teachers union.
To be eligible for PAR, participating teachers must either be:
- third year provisional teachers who have not yet achieved Proficient status in all of the four EDFS teaching standards OR
- permanent teachers who have received an overall rating of Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory and have been placed on a Directed Growth or Improvement Plan of at least six months.
Consulting Teachers (CTs) are experienced BTU teachers who will support a caseload of up to 12 teachers. CTs will develop a plan to support each of their teachers and monitor their progress. At the end of each teacher’s evaluation cycle, the Consulting Teachers will make final rating recommendations to the PAR Panel.
The district and union also sponsor the Peer Assistance (PA) program and New Teacher Developers (NTDs). These programs provide coaching and support but not evaluation. Visit the Peer Mentoring page to find out about these programs.
The PAR Panel administers all aspects of the program, including supervising the consulting teachers and determining final evaluation levels for participating teachers. The PAR Panel consists of nine members: four appointed by the Superintendent, four BTU members appointed by the BTU, and one jointly appointed member.
Principals are a key aspect of the PAR program. Principals will identify teachers who are not yet proficient and will set the evaluation timeline. Once a teacher enrolls in PAR, their principal will serve as a secondary evaluator. Principals will meet with participating teachers and consulting teachers regularly during each evaluation cycle and may also present evidence to the PAR panel.
At the end of the participating teacher’s evaluation cycle, the consulting teacher will recommend a rating to the PAR Panel. The PAR Panel will deliberate and vote on a final evaluation rating recommendation (either Exemplary, Proficient, Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory). The rating will then be submitted to the Superintendent for final approval.
- Maritza Agrait (Lyndon Pilot School)
- Michele Davis (Warren-Prescott K-8)
- Meredith Elliott (Boston Latin School)
- Barbara Fields (Office of Equity, ret.)
- Olivo Lee Franty (Murphy K-8, co-chair)
- Valencia Hughes-Imani (Hennigan K-8)
- Alexandra Montes McNeil (Umana Academy, co-chair)
- Marie Mullen (Higginson Elementary)
- Patrick Tutwiler (Brighton High School)
- Mark Lonergan (Consulting Teacher)
Enroll: If you want to sign up for PAR (or just want to find out more information), fill out our online enrollment form. Go to bostonpar.wordpress.com and go to the “Enroll” page to fill out a request.
Contact us: Email the PAR Panel at firstname.lastname@example.org.