Frequently Asked Questions

Office of Coordinated School and District Support

What is the S.E.E.D. Instructional System?

In April 2020, the Nebraska State Board of Education (SBOE) made a commitment to a common language of effectiveness for all Nebraska school teachers and leaders by approving revisions to the Nebraska Teacher and Principal Performance Standards (NTPPS). These standards provide a structure designed to address the complexities of teaching and leading. The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) is committed to organized and intentional collaboration with key partners to develop and implement a system using these standards as the foundation to support the educational community in ensuring effective education in schools. The process is called Supporting Educator Effectiveness through Development (S.E.E.D.)

The entry point for schools/districts into the S.E.E.D. Instructional System requires an awareness that allows each school/district to be empowered to discover their own continuous improvement path in connection to the NTPPS.

Educators and the educational system as a whole in Nebraska have been given an opportunity, and the response to this exposure is critical. As education moves into the post-pandemic era of schooling, educators and all members of Nebraska’s educational system are compelled to have intentional conversations about the fact that schooling has barriers, including benefits for some while creating biases toward others. The S.E.E.D. Instructional System is intentional about elevating conversations around equity and data-driven practice to a frequent, regular, reflective space.

What are the major shifts in the revised NTPPS?

The two major shifts in the NTPPS are an increased focus on equity and data-informed decision-making, allowing districts to more purposefully prioritize the individual needs of each student.

  • The revisions were written by Nebraska educators statewide to provide an enhanced picture of effective teaching and school leadership.
  • The NTPPS demonstrate the commitment to an expectation of equitable and data-informed practices for Nebraska’s teachers and principals through intentional language to confront and eliminate institutional bias and student marginalization.
  • The S.E.E.D. Instructional System begins and ends with individuals and the ability to come together as educators.
  • This is a complex process that must be supported and developed over time. The NDE will work closely with ESUs, higher education institutions, and districts to ensure that a common language derived through collaboration drives the process beca

What are the core beliefs of the S.E.E.D. Instructional System?

S.E.E.D. Belief Statements

    1. Authenticity matters-The greatest impact is realized when authentic processes in schools are supported with systems.
    2. Compliance does not equal engagement-Removing compliance barriers creates genuine engagement.
    3. Belonging and being seen underpins everything-Both support and development are underpinned by teachers’ and principals’ sense of belonging, being seen, and being heard.
    4. Data informs…stories compel-Data exists to inform the system; stories compel the system to act.
    5. Learning will be sustained when we understand educator effectiveness-Effective learning is sustainable when each school/district understands how its educator effectiveness system connects to results.
    6. Collaboration is required-Collaborative inquiry with NDE/ESUs/higher education/schools/districts and other educational organizations is critical.

What role does the NTPPS serve in the S.E.E.D. Instructional System?

The NTPPS is the instructional model that serves as the foundation for the S.E.E.D Instructional System. The previous version (Nebraska Teacher and Principal Performance Framework) was revised into standards. The NTPPS is the instructional model representing the standard for effective teaching and leading in Nebraska.

The S.E.E.D. Instructional System is committed to support and development. Evaluation is one essential component that enables the support and development process to be tailored to individual needs; however, evaluation is not an effective strategy to support the support and development process if used as a stand-alone indicator of one’s abilities.

Will rubrics be provided that are aligned to the NTPPS?

Yes. Teacher rubric documents aligned to the NTPPS are located on the Educator Effectiveness website.

The rubrics serve as a continuum of support and development within the S.E.E.D. Instructional System. Rubrics provide a roadmap to show people where they need to go to be successful and the continuum of support and development concept takes this process one step further. It will serve a specific purpose within the S.E.E.D. Instructional System.

Watch the Webinar Provided as Guidance for Rubric Use (July 2020) to hear about the theory and history behind the rubric design on the Educator Effectiveness website.

How are the NTPPS rubrics different than other support and development rubrics?

The concept of a continuum of support and development may be a shift from how districts traditionally use rubrics.

  • Typical standard-related rubrics consist of descriptors ranging from ineffective to highly effective for each standard indicator. This rigid structure provides little distinction between novice educators versus more experienced educators.
  • Traditional rubrics often lend themselves more to compliance processes and evaluation of educators rather than to the actual determination of what supports and/or development are needed for the individual growth of the person being evaluated.
  • Traditional standards-aligned rubrics may not provide opportunities for conversations about how an individual’s growth applies to systemic change. Compliance-driven evaluation activities are contradictory to the intent of the S.E.E.D. Instructional System.

This concept of a continuum of support and development is a shift toward formative assessment, provides support in real-time, and leads to reflective partnerships in professional practice. This concept will allow districts to promote growth and maximize the impact of their teachers and school leaders.

An important step schools/districts/ESUs could take is to utilize the rubrics provided to drive a reflective process (EX: coaching, mentoring, PLC dialogue, or others) with their teachers and principals to lay the groundwork for the identification of the support and development needs of their educators and to determine clarity in the context of educator effectiveness within their systems.


The NDE’s Office of Coordinated School and District Support encourages the integration of the work districts have done with their chosen instructional models with conversations about educator effectiveness and its connection to continuous improvement.

  • Surface-level crosswalks for Danielson and Marzano are available only to support the low-impact leverage points designed solely for the alignment of documents.
  • The S.E.E.D. Instructional System requires a deeper understanding of the distinction between the words alignment and connection (or integration). Instructional model alignment activities, such as crosswalks, are only the first step to Instructional SYSTEM CONNECTION.

For systems to truly function, more than just alignment of instructional models and/or initiatives is needed. System connections (or integration) must exist.

For example, a school’s MTSS system should connect to the school’s instructional model. These two things should also connect to the school’s system of support, development, and evaluation.

  • The difference is in how the purpose and function impact the results. An effective system understands the connections between and among systems in addition to sequential alignment such as a crosswalk.

Have crosswalks between the NTPPS and the Danielson and Marzano instructional models been developed?

Danielson and Marzano crosswalks were created and made available as a surface-level alignment in June 2020. While the crosswalk process is an effective starting point, the stronger leverage is in the conversations about the practices that connect and the gaps revealed. Both crosswalks, Danielson and Marzano, show areas of alignment with the NTPPS and areas of weak alignment. Local school districts should strike a balance between the effective practices in the existing models and deeper shifts found in the NTPPS.

Is there a timeline for the S.E.E.D. Instructional System Implementation?

The full S.E.E.D. Instructional System implementation will take 3-5 years.

The S.E.E.D. Team is committed to supporting districts as they learn about and implement the NTPPS and the S.E.E.D. Instructional System. The S.E.E.D. Team communicates information and updates through the NDE’s Educator Effectiveness website, and direct communication to district superintendents, ESUs, and higher education. Partnerships with key groups leading the work across the state and regular participation in conversations with districts/ESUs/higher education to both seek feedback and share updates also provide continued collaboration.

Does the NDE have deadlines?

No. If districts are at a point where they are ready to start discussing a local evaluation instrument, those should begin, preferably guided by the concept of a continuum of support and development previously described. Conversations about evaluation should be collaborative among teachers and leaders and should focus on equity and data-informed decision-making, and how these two things impact effective teaching and school leadership.

What are the phases of the S.E.E.D. Instructional System roll out and what are the clear outcome(s) for utilizing the educator effectiveness standards?

S.E.E.D. is an instructional SYSTEM that provides purposeful guidance in the learning process. (The NTPPS is the instructional model within the S.E.E.D. Instructional System.) The S.E.E.D. Instructional System has four phases of implementation:


Phase 1: From Evaluation to Support and Development: A collaborative inquiry-based examination of current policies, protocols, and systems) to determine a baseline of educator effectiveness and the necessary support required.


Key Outcome: Establishing a foundation to create a path that leads to systematic collaboration with schools/districts/NDE/ESUs/EPPs to maximize educator effectiveness through engagement with the S.E.E.D. instructional system.


Interaction with the NTPPS:

Sowing the Seeds Professional Development Materials: Support educators’ awareness and familiarity with the NTPPS.


Phase 2From Compliance to Support: A collaborative inquiry-based examination of contextual data in relation to each school’s/district’s unique strengths and needs.


Key Outcome: to establish a culture of support and development to prioritize the growth and impact of effective educators within each school/district.


Interaction with the NTPPS:

Tending to Themes Professional Development Materials: Support educators’ awareness and implementation of the equity and data-informed themes within the NTPPS.


Phase 3: From Alignment to Integration: A collaborative inquiry-based integration of all processes, initiatives, programs, protocols, and systems to establish clear connections between educator effectiveness with organizational decision-making.


Key Outcome: individual schools/districts create their unique school/district portraits designed to reflect the goals, outcomes, and needs of all members of the education community to maximize educator effectiveness.


Interaction with the NTPPS:

Cultivating Growth Professional Development Materials: support educators in the integration of initiatives and instruction with the NTPPS as a foundation.


Phase 4From Individuals to Organizational Systems: A collaborative inquiry-based statewide system to support schools/districts to utilize the school/district portrait data to build capacity and maximize educator effectiveness.


Key Outcome: each school/district is empowered to identify, communicate, and receive relevant support needed to progress as a system.


Interaction with the NTPPS:

Reaping the Harvest Professional Development Materials: support educators in designing a support and development system with the NTPPS as a foundation for educator performance, talent management, and evaluation.

What will the NDE expect from districts regarding the rigor of instructional models?

The integration process developed must showcase the initiatives in which districts are already engaged. An effective instructional model is one that is created out of the context and needs of individual districts and is grounded in the NTPPS. For example, many districts have adopted a student support model, such as MTSS. Through their work of developing these student support models into district-wide instructional systems, within their own contexts, attention needs to be given to how that work integrates with the instructional models of each district, to realize how the effectiveness of their teachers and principals is related to the instructional system.


Districts should focus on identifying their own context, needs, and questions, and reflect on their ability to determine the next steps, processes, and tools. How do current programs and processes help to answer those questions?  What questions are left unanswered and what will schools do to respond? How will they adjust and adapt their current systems? What role does the instructional model in place play in supporting this process?

NDE is committed to guiding the shift necessary for districts to focus on their own context, and their areas of needed support and development, rather than on a form of traditional compliance.

Are there preferred, instructional models?

No. Districts may choose any instructional model to serve as the common language for effective teaching and leading in their districts.

Does the NDE have deadlines for an updated evaluation instrument to be made available to districts?

No. If districts are at a point where they are ready to start discussing a local evaluation instrument, they should start having those conversations, preferably guided by the concept of a continuum of support and development as mentioned above. Conversations about evaluation should be collaborative amongst districts’ teachers and leaders and should focus on equity and data-informed decision-making, and how these two things impact effective teaching and school leadership. Conversations such as these would be extremely valuable for districts, especially since Covid-19 has brought inequities to the surface that were maybe not apparent before. Time must be committed to this reflective process to gain a clear understanding of each district’s current state.

What does state statute say about teacher evaluation?

State statute requires districts to conduct classroom observations of probationary teachers once each semester. Districts may need to consider their definition of “classroom observation” depending on the physical setting of the school, as per their district policy. As stated above, the NDE has provided a set of prioritized indicators to support districts in their conversations about teacher/principal evaluation.

What resources are available?

NDE has collaborated with ESUs and higher education faculty to create professional development materials to support professional learning colleagues. These materials are intended to build awareness and familiarity with the NTPPS. The first set of materials, Sowing the Seeds, was launched in January 2021. Facilitator materials, participant guides, and slides to support professional learning sessions are part of a series called Growing Our Practice with NTPPS.

The NDE also provides videos of conversations about the standards through the lens of a student, teacher, principal, superintendent, ESUs, higher education institutions, and the NDE. Listen to Nebraska educators speak from their perspective about the standards, the support they offer teachers, and the integration of work across the state educational system.

The links will be found on the following webpage:

Updated February 29, 2024 3:13pm