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Important REACH Reminders

Informal Observation Guidelines

  1. One of the three required REACH observations during an educator’s evaluation plan can be an informal observation.
  2. Informal observations are of equal weight as formal observations in terms of how they factor into an educator’s final rating at the end of their evaluation plan. Each component score from each observation contributes equally to the component average. Each component average then contributes to a domain average. The domain averages determine the scores for each domain which are added together to form the Professional Practice Score.
  3. Intervals between all REACH evaluative observations depend on an educator’s evaluation plan:

For educators on an annual evaluation plan (all PATs and some tenured teachers) who will be observed three times this school year, each observation (informal or formal) must be at least 1 month apart.
For tenured educators in year 1 of a biennial evaluation plan who will be observed 2 times this school year, each observation (informal or formal) must be at least 3 months apart.

  1. An informal observation is an unannounced observation for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore, there is no required pre-observation conference. Evaluators do not have to notify the educator that the informal observation will occur, however, evaluators should inform the educator when they enter the classroom or observation setting that the observation is taking place and will count for the purposes of REACH evaluation. If, after an observation, an educator is uncertain if an observation was an informal REACH observation, they are encouraged to send a professionally worded email the evaluator after the observation took place to inquire as to whether the observation was for the purposes of evaluation. Please see page 28 of the CPS REACH Teacher Evaluation Handbook to review the protocols for informal observations.
  2. For an informal “REACH” evaluation, evaluators must:
    • Observe the class for at least 15 minutes or longer.
    • Take a full Evidence Log of observation notes and record them on RLS.
    • Align that evidence to the components of the Framework on RLS.
    • Share the evidence, scores and feedback with an educator on RLS within 5 school days of the observation.
    • Score the aligned evidence only for the components of Domains 2 and 3 on RLS.
    • Leave a component score blank if they do not have enough evidence for a particular component. (Especially in the case of short informal observations, evaluators should not give an educator a low component score merely because they say “there was no evidence.”)
    • Base component scores on the preponderance of aligned evidence from the observation.
  3. An educator may request a post-conference to discuss the informal observation with an evaluator, but there is no mandated post-observation conference for informal observations. Educators are advised to send a professionally worded email as soon as possible after the informal observation to request a post-observation conference to discuss the observation, provide the evaluator with additional evidence and context for the observation and get feedback.

A formal observation is a more planned observation for the purpose of evaluation and it must include a pre-observation and a post-observation conference. For more information about formal observations, see pages 23-27 of the CPS REACH Teacher Evaluation Handbook and Article 39-2 (pages 158-160) of the contract.

Clinician Observations, Case Reviews, & Evaluators

Clinicians have formal REACH observations just like other REACH-evaluated educators, but instead of informal observations, they have case reviews. For more information about the case review process, go to the CPS Knowledge Center. (Once logged on to kc.cps.edu, hover the cursor over “REACH” tab and then click on “Related Service Providers.”)

ODLSS clinical managers and coordinators conduct REACH formal observations and case reviews for all untenured clinicians, all tenured clinicians on an annual plan, tenured clinicians on a remediation plan.

Managers and coordinators also conduct the REACH case review for tenured clinicians on a biennial plan. However, school building administrators (principals, APs, etc) conduct the formal REACH observations for tenured clinicians on a biennial plan.

Professional Responsibilities/Domain 4

REACH-evaluated educators receive Component 4b-4e (Professional Responsibilities) scores at the end of an educator’s evaluation plan. Evaluators must enter final scores in the RLS web site in June. There are two ways that educators can get feedback and provide evidence to their evaluator relevant to their 4b-4e component scores.

  1. Educators and evaluators can discuss components 4b-4e in a REACH post-conference for a formal observation. In this case, the evaluator should take notes at the conference in the Professional Responsibilities section of the RLS web site and then add their comments, feedback, and scores at the end of the educator’s evaluation plan.


  2. Educators (especially those who will receive a final summative rating at the end of the current school year, which is all PATs, tenured teachers on an annual plan and tenured teachers in year 2 of a biennial plan) are encouraged to enter narratives and upload representative documentary evidence for components 4b-4e on RLS. In this case, educators can enter evidence through the early spring, ask their evaluator for feedback, and then make changes to their evidence before the last day for REACH observations (the end of the 35th week of school) which is also the last day for educators to enter 4b-4e evidence in RLS. Educators should be in communication with their evaluator to ensure that they receive feedback if they entered evidence before the early spring. Your school’s Professional Problems Committee could ask the administration for updates on when educators should expect to receive feedback. Educators should use courteous emails to alert their evaluator that they’ve entered evidence and to request feedback.

Entering narrative evidence for components 4b-4e in RLS is optional and if the educator chooses not to enter narrative evidence in RLS, the evaluator must enter evidence for each component to justify the score they give for each component.

Educators who are in year 1 of a tenured biennial evaluation plan, may enter evidence during that school year, but they will not receive 4b-4e component scores that count toward their rating from their evaluator until the end of year 2 of their plan. Educators who are in year 2 of a biennial evaluation plan, will need to copy/paste anything they entered in RLS during year 1 from their archive on RLS into their current “Professional Responsibilities” tab in RLS.

When writing your optional Component 4b-4e narratives, be sure to read and have the Framework and Companion Guide for your Framework nearby. You can find all nine currently used Frameworks (Teaching, Teaching with SPED CAs, Teacher-Librarian, School Counselor, Social Work, Nursing, School Psychology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Educational Support Specialist) and all 7 of the currently available Companion Guides (Teaching, Teacher-Librarian, School Counselor, Social Work, Nursing, School Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology) on the CPSKnowledge Center.

BFK Roster & Performance Task Verification

In order to ensure that REACH-evaluated educators are assigned to the correct REACH rating category, that teachers and librarians receive the appropriate REACH Performance Task scores, and that elementary teachers rated in Category A receive value-added scores for their specific students, all teachers and librarians must verify their rosters (including months taught and percentage of instruction) and claim the BOY and EOY REACH Performance Tasks that their students took in the Batelle for Kids (BFK) roster and performance task verification process. The BFK roster and performance task verification window is open every May. For more information about BFK roster and performance task verification, please see the CPS Knowledge Center roster verification page.

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