Engage and retain great educators by building a culture of support and recognition.


Highly engaged, highly skilled educators are the lifeblood of great schools. These educators are a combination of passion, skill, and will. Passion is contagious, skill is developed, and will is that magic quality we all seek in an employee. Creating a culture that fosters this combination requires a shared vision of what it means to be great. There also must be a structure to support and develop those who want to achieve it. The following describes the tools and resources that will support you in creating such a culture.


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MCESA has a unique suite of tools that describe all levels of skillful teaching and leading. The suite includes rubric-style instruments for teachers, instructional coaches, and instructional leaders. The rubrics are customized to each position, but are aligned to one another in order to support a shared vision of great teaching and leading.

The rubrics are a resource for educators in supporting their vision of great teaching and leading. They provide a framework for crafting customized professional learning, supporting strong instructional teams, and collectively setting goals for the future. They are also calibrated to ensure student growth and staff development, so they are ideal to use for professional evaluation cycles.

All three tools were co-developed with more than 7,000 educators over a five-year period. They have been through rigorous revisions based on feedback from teachers, instructional coaches, building, and district leaders.

LOI Cover


Grounded in the belief that the best instruction occurs when students construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, this instrument clearly describes what individualized teaching and conceptual learning looks like.

Six rubrics and 26 elements break down the clear descriptions into manageable tasks that teachers can master over time. The LOI is the foundational component of MCEA's observation instrument suite.

COI Cover

Coaching Observation Instrument (coi)

Instructional coaching positively impacts the professional development of teachers and the learning of students. This instrument honors that important position and clearly describes what it takes to provide the right amount and type of support for professional growth to occur. The COI perfectly aligns to t he LOI and even shares several elements in order to connect the coach role to the success of a teacher and students.

Three rubrics and 23 elements break down the clear descriptions into manageable tasks that instructional coaches can master over time.

LDOI Cover

Leading Observation Instrument (ldoi)

Teaching and learning significantly improve with great leadership. The instrument clearly describes the varied and complex roles of the school leader. The LdOI perfectly aligns to the LOI and COI. Common language is used throughout all instruments in order to connect the leader role to the success of a teacher and students.

Five rubrics and 22 elements break down the clear descriptions into manageable tasks that school leaders can master over time.

Leading Observation Instrument Overview Video

Testimonials From Five Maricopa County Superintendents About Their Experience with MCESA's Observation Instruments

Each one of the observation instruments has a professional learning series to support it. The series are a combination of online and face-to-face courses, and comprehensive resources to support professional learning communities and coaching relationships. There are customized differentiated support options to ensure the right fit for every educator in every system.


  • Learning Observation Overview
  • Objective Writing
  • Lesson Design
  • Supporting AZCCRS Through Task Analysis
  • Teacher Actions: Modeling
  • Guided Practice and Check for Understanding
  • Teacher Actions: Constructing Knowledge
  • Supporting the AZCCRS Through Formative Assessment
  • Monitor and Adjust Instruction
  • Supporting AZCCRS Through Learner Engagement


the coaching series

  • Coaching Observation Instrument Overview
  • Setting a Foundation for Coaching: Building Coaching Relationships
  • Setting a Foundation for Coaching: Coaching Skills
  • Setting a Foundation for Coaching: The Principal-Coach Partnership
  • Learning Observation Instrument Overview
  • Goal Driven Collaboration: Designing Coaching Support
  • Goal Driven Collaboration: Coaching Cycles

Learn more about the Coaching Series here.


  • Leading Observation Instrument Overview
  • Getting Ready: Framing/Data
  • Data Analysis
  • Vision
  • Strategic Conversations
  • Systems Thinking
  • High Functioning Teams
  • Distributive Leadership
  • Understanding Resistance
  • Sustainability
  • Supervision of Written, Taught, and Tested Curriculum
  • PLCs for Leaders: Growing Effective PLCs
  • Action Planning

Learn more about the Leading Series here.

Evaluator training is designed to ensure that evaluators can correctly identify an educator's effectiveness level through the observation process. In order to create a rigorous process that ensures the highest quality evaluators, MCESA has designed a multi-step process to certify as an evaluator.

Qualified Evaluator Training (QET)

The 30-hour Qualified Evaluator Training is  QET is available for the:

  • Learning Observation Instrument

  • Coaching Observation Instrument

  • Leading Observation Instrument

Certified Evaluator Training (CET)

Certified Evaluator Training prepares evaluators to successfully complete the Certified Evaluator Assessment. CET provides access for observers to view and score video clips with feedback through an online testing tool. Evaluators also conduct co-observations with Certified MCESA staff.

certified evaluator assessment (CEA)

The Certified Evaluator Assessment is conducted once a school year to certify evaluators on the following instruments:

  • Learning Observation Instrument

  • Coaching Observation Instrument

  • Leading Observation Instrument

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Contact Assistant Superintendent of Educational Innovation Lori Shough

lori.shough@mcesa.maricopa.gov I 602-506-3066