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In Texas all educators are required to be evaluated.  TEA provides a tool, the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS).  Districts may adopt it or modify it, or develop some other system that still meets the requirements.

The PDAS is the most commonly used system in Texas.  However, the PDAS was specifically designed for classroom teachers of record.  According to the Statewide PDAS Coordinator for TEA, the PDAS isn’t valid or appropriate for non-classroom educators, such as VI professionals.  Districts are expected to develop their own system for non-classroom educators.

However, the PDAS is what districts are using for most if not all of their educators.  VI professionals (teachers certified in visual impairments and orientation and mobility specialist) need and deserve to have a rigorous, valid and appropriate performance evaluation.

Recent surveys indicate that many administrators may have limited knowledge of what it means to be an itinerant VI professional and about the scope of the students VI professionals teach. 

The challenge is how to facilitate a rigorous performance evaluation, using the tools available and not having each district re-invent the wheel.

A coalition VI professionals and administrators has developed a companion to assist administrators in completing evaluations.  The coalition (the Professional Preparation Advisory Group or PPAG) includes parents, administrators, VI professionals from districts and ESC as well as university faculty and state agency staff.  The PDAS Companions for VI Professionals are intended to help expand knowledge and assist administrators in completing a rigorous evaluation.

There is a document for orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists and one for teachers certified in visual impairments (TVIs).  These documents come with the following assumptions:

  • These are not stand-alone documents.  They do not take the place of any performance evaluation system that a district may be using.
  • These are optional, sample documents.  Districts are welcome to make any changes that meet their needs.
  • VI professionals should be evaluated with the same rigor as other educators in the district. 
  • The evaluation will be completed by someone knowledgeable in visual impairments, reflect the most critical aspects of the job and be used to chart future decisions.

We look forward to any comments, concerns and/or improvements you might have.

KC Dignan, PhD.  Statewide Professional Preparation Coordinator,  TSBVI