What is AchieveNJ and How Does it Affect Old Bridge?

Since 2010, the New Jersey Department of Education has been working to improve educator evaluation and supports. These efforts have included a two-year pilot that has involved more than 15,000 teachers and principals. Building on this work, New Jersey’s 2012 TEACHNJ Act mandates many requirements for the new statewide educator evaluation system and links tenure decisions to evaluation ratings.

TEACHNJ was signed into law by Governor Christie on 2012 and in 2013, the state Department of Education proposed regulations outlining specific evaluation policies of 2013-2014. The first full year of statewide implementation of the new system, AchieveNJ, begins in September 2013.

Old Bridge has been working diligently to prepare for AchieveNJ by reviewing and updating our evaluation documents. We are ready to proceed and have begun the transition process with staff education and training in the new evaluation model.


A key strength of AchieveNJ is its reliance on high-quality classroom observations of teacher practice. Under the old State evaluation system, non-tenured teachers were observed three times a year – and tenured teachers were not required to have observations. Under Old Bridge’s previous evaluation system, non-tenured teachers were observed a minimum of three times per year and tenured teachers were observed a minimum of once per year. With AchieveNJ, all teachers are observed by well-trained principals or certified supervisors at least three times every year using a state-approved instrument, and a post-conference between the teacher and observer is required after each observation. Through post-conferences and other sources of feedback on their practice, all teachers can connect professional growth opportunities directly to what’s happening in their classrooms.

For all teachers, trained observers –including principals, supervisors, and other school leaders – monitor classroom practices using a teacher practice instrument (also referred to as an observation framework) such as Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching —our selected modelThese instruments help guide observers as they identify key components of effective teaching during classroom visits. They also help ensure that a teacher’s practice is evaluated consistently and that teachers are receiving meaningful feedback. This feedback is then used to tailor professional development to a teacher’s individual needs. Through this observation and feedback cycle, districts will create a common language of instruction to foster collaboration between staff and enhance professional learning communities.

Districts have been given the flexibility to choose which of these research-based frameworks they want to use, or to create their own instruments and submit them for approval. Old Bridge has designed its own instruments based on observation forms/evaluation forms with which you are already familiar. They have been approved by the NJDOE.

Training and Observation Requirements

All teachers must be trained on new evaluation procedures, including observation instruments, prior to the beginning of the school year.

Before observing a teacher’s practice for the purpose of an evaluation, all observers must be thoroughly trained on the instrument.

Observations may only be conducted by an appropriately certificated staff member employed in a supervisory role and capacity.

An Overview of the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching (2007)

The Framework for Teaching is a research-based set of components of instruction, aligned to the InTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) standards, and grounded in a constructivist view of learning and teaching. The complex activity of teaching is divided into 22 components (and 76 smaller elements) clustered into four domains of teaching responsibility:

1. Planning and Preparation

2. Classroom Environment

3. Instruction

4. Professional Responsibilities

The Framework may be used for many purposes, but its full value is realized as the foundation for professional conversations among practitioners as they seek to enhance their skill in the complex task of teaching. The Framework may be used as the foundation of a school or district's mentoring, coaching, professional development, and teacher evaluation processes, thus linking all those activities together and helping teachers become more thoughtful practitioner.

For more information regarding AchieveNJ, please visit the AchieveNJ page at the New Jersey Department of Education website: LINK