The Educator Supports Program's (ESP) mission is to strengthen student learning and teacher performance with coaching and evaluation that feels fair, transparent, and humane to all stakeholders.
ESP is a partnership between Boston Public Schools (BPS) and Boston Teachers Union (BTU). We work with educators who have been rated less than proficient in the educator evaluation system. Teachers can volunteer to have an experienced peer (called a Consulting Teacher) visit their classroom on a regular basis to serve as their coach and/or primary evaluator.
Frequently Asked Questions
General FAQs | The Process | Eligibility | FAQs for School Administrators | The ESP Panel & Consulting Teachers
What is the Educator Supports Program?
The Educator Supports Program (ESP) offers two options, peer assistance (PA) or peer assistance and review (PAR). ESP may be a good fit for you if you received a less-than-Proficient rating on your most recent evaluation.
What services are offered in the Educator Supports Program?
In the Educator Supports Program, you will work side-by-side with a Consulting Teacher (CT). The CT will be your coach, cheerleader, teammate, and in some cases (PAR) serve as primary evaluator. There are two tracks; peer assistance (PA) and peer assistance and review (PAR). With PA, your CT will work with you as an non-evaluative coach. If you are eligible for and choose PAR, your consulting teacher will be your primry evaluator and your principal will serve as your secondary evaluator.
What are the differences between the two tracks, PA and PAR?
Peer Assistance (PA) provides the coaching and counseling but not evaluation. Both PA and PAR pair you with a veteran BPS teacher who gives you individualized coaching and support. Both PA and PAR work with you and your administrators to improve your skills and your evaluation rating.The three main differences between PA and PAR are:
- Evaluation: PA offers peer coaching. PAR offers peer coaching and evaluation.
- Eligibility: PA can support you even if you’re on a short eval cycle. PAR is only for people with a 6 month or longer plan.
- Enrollment. Sign up on our Enroll page.
Who evaluates me in PAR?
A Consulting Teacher will be your primary evaluator. Your principal/administrator will serve as a secondary evaluator. Secondary evaluators may upload observations and artifacts, but only a primary evaluator can create a formative or summative evaluation. A panel of teachers and principals will issue final ratings.
What is the role of my Principal or Administrator in PAR?
Once you enroll in the PAR track, your principal/administrator serves as a secondary evaluator. Administrators meet with you and your Consulting Teacher regularly during your evaluation cycle and may also present evidence to the ESP panel during the final deliberation.
Is PAR a real evaluation?
Yes. PAR means that you’ll have a second set of eyes evaluating your practice and a second set of hands supporting you in your planning and giving you feedback along the way, but it is also a real evaluation.
How do you measure success in ESP Program?
We measure our success in two ways: helping teachers to improve their practice and their evaluation ratings and also surveying our teachers and administrators to make sure that ESP/PAR is living up to our mission of providing an evaluation that feels fair, transparent, and humane to all stakeholders. See Track Record for more information.
What’s your success rate so far?
So far, we’ve helped about 50 percent of our teachers earn a Proficient rating. We’ve helped about 90 percent of our teachers stay on the job (either with a Proficient rating or additional time for continued support). More than 95 percent of teachers and principals surveyed felt that the process was fair, transparent, and humane.
FAQs on the Process
What happens while I’m in ESP?
The Educator Supports Program is built around a reiterative loop of coaching, observing, reflecting and assessing your performance. Consulting Teachers will work with you to identify areas of improvement, develop specific performance goals, support and monitor your progress, collect evidence, and make evaluative judgments. This process can last from 6 months to one year.
What is a parley meeting?
If you choose PAR, there are at least three "parley" meetings during the cycle, between you, your Consulting Teacher and your administrator(s). These are chances to check-in on progress and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Typically, they happen at the start, middle and end of your evaluation cycle.
How will my evaluation cycle end?
If you are enrolled in the PAR track, at the end of your evaluation cycle, your Consulting Teacher will recommend a rating to the ESP Panel. You and your administrator will see the recommendation before the ESP Panel meets. You and your administrator are both invited to submit other evidence to the panel (either in writing or in person). Then, the ESP Panel deliberates and votes on a final rating recommendation. This rating is then submitted to the Superintendent for final approval.
Eligibility & Enrollment
Am I eligible to join ESP?
- The program is for teachers with more than two years of experience in BPS. Teachers in their 1st or 2nd year are not eligible for the ESP Program.
- The program is for teachers on a Directed Growth, Improvement or Developing Educator evaluation plan. Teachers currently on a Self-Directed plan are encouraged to reach out for the possibility of coaching, but are not eligible for PAR.
- The PAR track is for teachers with an evaluation plan that is at least 6 months long. Teachers with an evaluation plan less than 6 months long are eligible for PA services only.
- Our primary goal is to support teachers who are not currently rated Proficient. However, we are sometimes able to meet with other teachers who just want some feedback or short-term coaching. If you’re interested in one of these “consultancy visits”, fill out the Contact Form.
Why do you require a 6-month or longer plan to join the PAR track?
A plan of 6 months or longer gives you adequate time to get intensive support and grow professionally. If you’re on a shorter plan, you may want to sign up for the PA program, which has no plan-length requirement.
Can I sign up for ESP if I am an SPC (Suitable Professional Capacity) teacher?
Yes. If you are a BTU member and you meet the other eligibility requirements, then you can join the program.
Can I sign up for the program if I am nurse or CoSESS?
Yes. ESP/PAR is part of the BTU collective bargaining agreement and can support “teachers” in non-classroom settings. If you are a full-time employee and a member of the BTU, then you may be eligible for PAR
How do I enroll in the program?
First, fill out our ESP Contact Form to let us know that you’re interested in talking to a Consulting Teacher. During that initial meeting, we will review the basics of how ESP works and answer your questions. If on the PAR track, you will next talk with a BTU representative to review the PAR Agreement and understand your rights and responsibilities as a BTU member in PAR. Once you review and sign an agreement form, then you can be officially moved to the PAR caseload.
What is the role of principals/headmasters and administrators in PAR?
- Administrators can observe and provide feedback as a secondary evaluator and add to the TeachPoint evaluation platform.
- Administrators can present evidence to the ESP Panel during the deliberation.
- Administrators will also set the initial timeline for the evaluation cycle.
How will administrators be kept in the loop a teacher is in PAR?
- There are at least three "parley" meetings during the PAR cycle, between Consulting Teacher (CT), Participating Teacher and administrator(s). These are chances to check-in on progress and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
- PAR encourages principals to be as involved as they want to be. In some cases, the administrator wants to continue to observe regularly. In some cases, the administrator is happy to let the Consulting Teacher be the sole observer. Ideally, there’s at least one chance for the CT and administrator to observe together.
- Administrators will also have the opportunity to preview and respond to the summative evaluation draft before it is approved by the ESP Panel.
Can an administrator force a teacher to enroll in PAR?
PAR is a voluntary program, which means that the teacher decides whether or not they want to participate. Administrators can share information and encourage teachers to learn more about their support options, but they cannot require a teacher to enroll.
Can an administrator forbid a teacher from enrolling in PAR?
No. PAR is a collectively bargained right for all BTU members. If a teacher meets PAR's eligibility requirements and wants to join, then they are contractually permitted to join PAR.
Consulting Teachers & the ESP Panel
Who do the Consulting Teachers work for?
ESPis jointly supported by the Boston Teachers Union and the Boston Public Schools. The Consulting Teachers are BTU members who are temporarily assigned to the Boston Public Schools Office of Human Capital. They are supervised, hired and evaluated directly by the ESP Panel.
How can I work as a Consulting Teacher?
Consulting Teachers are veteran teachers who commit to at least 2 years of supporting other teachers across the district. Consulting Teachers are members of the Boston Teachers Union and cannot take a job as a principal or assistant principal in the district for at least one year after working as a Consulting Teacher. Job openings will be posted on our Blog and on TalentEd.
How can I join the ESP Panel?
The teacher members of the Panel are appointed by the President of the Boston Teachers Union and they serve for up to 4 years. The principal members of the ESP Panel are appointed by the Superintendent.