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Module 4: Intervening with and Supporting Struggling Teachers

While districts vary in their processes for implementing teacher  growth plans, from highly specified rubrics and timelines,  to district wide supports, there are principles and guidelines all principals can follow.  First principals can begin developing the growth plan as early in the school year as possible to ensure sufficient time to implement it and to monitor progress.

Struggling Teachers Graphic

There are a few key intervention plan steps principals can follow to ensure teachers’ areas of need are identified and appropriately addressed:

  1. Identify areas of need. Principals can use the TEAM rubric to identify areas in need of growth in instruction, planning, professionalism, or delivery of services.
  2. Find evidence supporting areas of need.  Principals can use results from assessments, surveys, observations, and/or the teacher evaluation rubric to establish evidence for the teacher’s areas of need to share with the teacher.
  3. Recommend actions to address areas of need. Teachers can observe other teachers, participate in specific professional learning opportunities, including grade level and subject area team meetings, or district and outside professional development opportunities,  and/ or work with a mentor teacher, coach and members of the school leadership team.
  4. Develop a timeline and monitoring plan. Principals can develop a timeline to check in regularly with teachers to ensure they are progressing in areas of need.  Additionally, principals can regularly review relevant data to ensure teachers are measurably progressing in those areas.
  5. Establish expected measurable outcomes. Principals can set expectations for changes teachers will make based on the recommended actions and monitoring plan. For example, a principal could address  a specific instructional area of need is resolved through observations, lesson plans, or assessment data.
  6. Consider Opportunities. Principals can consider whether the teacher has been provided opportunities and assistance to improve before making a non-renewal or termination recommendation.

Additional Resource

Drake, T.A. et al., (2015). Development or dismissal? Exploring principals use of teacher effectiveness data. In Grissom, J.A. and Youngs, P., Improving Teacher Evaluation Systems: Making the Most of Multiple Measures (pp. 199-214). New York: Teachers College Press.


Consider an intervention plan for the teacher you previously identified as not meeting expectations and answer the following:

  1. What kind of development would help this teacher in the areas of concern you identified earlier?
  2. What goals for improvement would you establish for this teacher?
  3. How would you monitor this teacher’s progress against those goals?
  4. At what point would you consider non-renewal or termination for this teacher? What data would you use to make that decision?

You will add your plan to the document you saved titled Strategic Retention and Intervention Reflection in the third and fourth columns of the struggling teacher chart. 

Continue to Module 4: Summative Activity