Latest WOW Video Highlights New Teacher Appraisal and Development System

Walnut Bend and River Oaks ES educators describe how they—and their students—are benefitting

November 03, 2011
Educators from all over the Houston Independent School District are seeing the benefits of the district’s new Teacher Appraisal and Development system—and that’s why it was the focus of the latest “Within Our Walls” (or “WOW!”) video, which was screened for principals on November 2.

In the film, educators at both Walnut Bend and River Oaks elementary schools describe how they—and their students—are taking advantage of opportunities to learn from one another.

“The Teacher Development Specialists really help me,” explains Walnut Bend Elementary School teacher Heather Hanson. “I love the constructive feedback.”

“If you’re not learning, and you’re not changing, then you’re probably not a very effective teacher,” adds her colleague, Christine Pette.

Hanson and Pette are just two of the teachers featured in the new video who have experienced first-hand how the new system can positively influence their work in the classroom. Claudia Olivo explains how she worked with Teacher Development Specialist Ben Hernandez to strengthen her skills in teaching fractions.

“Fractions are not my strong suit,” she notes, “I need all the help I can get. If Ben comes into my classroom and would like to join in, how much better is that for my students?”

Walnut Bend Principal Susan Shenker agrees. “That’s how you continuously improve,” she says. “There’s that freedom to give and accept feedback and learn and grow. And there’s nothing better than that.”

To learn more about HISD’s teacher appraisal and development system, please visit

To learn more about the school’s and programs highlighted through HISD videos, please visit the WOW page.