The TEACHNJ Act requires that all schools convene a School Improvement Panel (ScIP) with the charge of providing leadership in the areas of teacher evaluation, mentoring, and professional development, including implementation of procedures for Corrective Action Plans. The ScIP is not the sole body responsible for implementation of these systems and programs, but helps ensure the consistent application of requirements across the school.
The ScIP must include the school principal, an assistant/vice principal or a designee if the school does not have one, and a teacher. More staff members may be added to the ScIP, provided that teachers represent at least one-third of the total membership. The principal has final responsibility for ScIP membership but must consult with the local association representative in determining a suitable teacher to participate. As of SY15-16, teachers serving on ScIPs must have earned a rating of Effective or Highly Effective in the most recent evaluation. Until then, the teacher must meet local standards for having "a demonstrated record of success in the classroom."
The primary role of the DEAC is to oversee and guide the planning and implementation of the school district board of education's evaluation policies and procedures (for both teachers and principals), whereas the ScIP provides leadership at the school level not only for the implementation of the district's teacher evaluation policies and procedures, but also mentoring and professional development supports for teachers.
One key role that both groups can play is to mediate and facilitate ongoing communications between the district and its schools to ensure that policies and procedures are being communicated consistently and implemented effectively. For example, the DEAC can distribute policy and procedural information via each ScIP. The SciP can provide school-level feedback on how the policies are being implemented, including information on successes and challenges. To ensure effective two-way communication between ScIPs and DEACs, districts should consider having at least one ScIP member from each school also sit on the DEAC where feasible.