Meet Tim Simmons

Thursday, January 5, 2012

 Tim Simmons, Vice President of Communications - Wake Education Partnership

As Vice President of Communications, Tim Simmons is responsible for outreach, advocacy, research and communications at the Partnership.
Simmons was a long-time education reporter for The News & Observer in Raleigh. He provided extensive coverage of the school accountability movement in the 1990s and the many reform efforts triggered by the state’s new emphasis on test scores.
His coverage of the racial achievement gap in 1999 won the highest national award for education writing that year and helped shape state programs to address the issue. He has also written about the resegregation of the state’s schools, the costs and benefits of diversity and the difficulty of maintaining good parent-teacher relationships. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Michigan State University in 1981.

Thursday, January 26th 7-8:30pm K100 Forum (Knightdale Town Hall): 
"State of Knightdale Schools" with Wake Education Partnership's Tim Simmons.  

This is Tim's 3rd annual address to Knightdale!


KNIGHTDALE - A SAS-developed data analysis system meant to help boost student performance has improved teacher effectiveness in Knightdale through special training sessions, educators say.This year, Knightdale schools – Knightdale High, East Wake Middle, Hodge Road Elementary, Knightdale Elementary, Lockhart Elementary, Forestville Road Elementary, and Lake Myra Elementary – were chosen to pilot a new SAS Institute training program meant to help principals and teachers understand the teacher-efficiency data.
The Education Value-Added Assessment System, or EVAAS, uses a student’s past test scores to determine the probability of having success in a subject. It also measures an instructor’s ability to effectively teach specific subjects or student learning-levels.
EVAAS is used throughout Wake County schools. But SAS needed to measure how effective their program developers were in training teachers to use EVAAS data. Knightdale 100, an educational advocacy group, lobbied SAS and Wake Schools for the pilot and won.
So during the fall semester, EVAAS trainers held instructional sessions for Knightdale educators – hoping to maximize the system’s potential.
“The educators gave us direct feedback as to whether they were understanding what they were being taught,” said Sandy Horn, who developed EVAAS with SAS.
SAS reps said feedback was “overwhelmingly positive.”
“In some cases, teachers told us that they had used the student projections a great deal. But they hadn’t used the part that shows student progress,” said Stefani Barbero, SAS manager of educator support services for EVAAS. “They broadened their knowledge.”
EVAAS shows teachers how effective they are at teaching certain subgroups of students. The subgroups are broken down by low, moderate, and high-achieving students.
So if tests show that a teacher is not as effective teaching, say, high-achieving students, the teacher can change his teaching methods with those students.
Knightdale High this fall learned about subgroups for the first time.
“In the past we only focused on the overall proficiency rating. The EVAAS training allowed our department to look deeper and determine how successful we are at each of achievement levels,” said Melody Solomon, Social Studies Department Chair at Knightdale High. “We reviewed the data in our PLT (Professional Learning Team) meetings and discussed how to differentiate based on the past performance at each achievement level.”
“Our teachers really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about EVAAS and how to use the data to inform instructional practices,” said Carla Jernigan, Knightdale High principal. “The training materials were well designed and easy to follow and the help windows within each report provide even more information to assist with understanding the reports.”
Added Nancy Allen, East Wake Middle principal: “The training was extremely valuable to us ... I learned a lot, which says something because I was pretty well-schooled on (EVAAS) already.” Knightdale 100 lures SAS
Specht: 919-829-4826

K100 Teams Up with SAS

April: Knightdale 100 learns that SAS is developing curriculum to train principals and teachers to use EVAAS both for student placement and professional development. Group lobbies for SAS pilot the curriculum in Knightdale.

MaySAS considers Knightdale because of its feeder patterns from elementary to high school. Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen, SAS, and Knightdale 100 meet to develop a proposal for Superintendent Tata and Wake County Schools.

Late May: Knightdale 100 hosts forum on EVAAS. Tata attends the forum, and later invites SAS and Knightdale to meet with him about a pilot program.

JuneSAS, Mayor Killen, K100 meet with Superintendent Tata. Tata appoints Terri Cobb to lead organizational efforts.

September: Pilot begins with EVAAS training in principals meetings.