Schools and districts are maximizing professional development (PD) investments — estimated at $18,000 per teacher in some districts — by using technology to manage and measure the impact of teacher evaluations, as well as tailor PD efforts.[i]
“Technology now provides us with student data and teacher data, which allow us to be very evaluative and self-reflective,” said Lisa Andrejko, Ed.D., regional strategic advisor at PeopleAdmin and former teacher, principal, director of technology and superintendent. “That’s made a world of difference for tailoring offerings to meet individual teacher’s needs.”
It starts with Perform — PeopleAdmin’s comprehensive evaluation system — which allows schools and districts to simplify and automate the observation and evaluation processes, collect valuable data, and access professional development resources.
“With Perform, any bit of performance information that you collect electronically, you can examine it, sort it, track it and measure its growth,” Lisa said.
This is important because, according to The Mirage, a 2015 report from The New Teacher Project (TNTP):
Most K-12 institutions don’t use performance information to spur teacher growth.
Even large development investments of as much as $18,000 per teacher aren’t resulting in substantial year-to-year instructor improvement.
Development activities that actually improve educator effectiveness are highly individualized.
But tailoring development activities to individual needs shouldn’t be a burden on teachers or administrators. And with the right technology tools, it doesn’t have to be, said Paul Hertel, Ed.D, associate superintendent of human resources at Community Consolidated School District 62 in Des Plaines, Illinois.
“Perform has made our administrators’ lives a lot easier,” he said. “Our tracking system is working very well, and I’ve heard no negatives from either principals or our teachers association. With an electronic system, teachers and principals have everything they need at their fingertips, so they can grow and reflect.”
That information, says Bernadette Gerace, director of human resources at Prosper Independent School District near Dallas, Texas, is then useful for determining PD needs. “It really gives principals the ability to look at the whole picture for each person and understand what needs to be done for that person for that year,” she said.
Districts can get more guidance on what professional development offerings will most impact a teacher’s growth by using the Instructional Proficiency Inventory (IPI)® — PeopleAdmin’s nonevaluative, professional development diagnosis solution.
“When teachers take the IPI, they get a profile of where they’re stronger, where they have opportunities for improvement, and suggestions for ways they can change their practices,” said Nick Montgomery, chief research officer at PeopleAdmin. “Then teachers and schools can choose the professional development curriculum or training that works best for them.”
“You have these data, and now, you can really develop a very specific plan for improvement or growth,” Lisa said.
To help track each teacher’s progress completing his or her individualized PD plan, hundreds of schools and districts use Thrive® — PeopleAdmin’s professional development management solution.
“Many districts are offering online learning, in-person learning and even giving teachers the opportunity to take professional development outside of the school. With Thrive, you can track all of it,” Nick said.
“The Thrive platform, from the administrator’s perspective, takes all the moving parts of professional development and allows you to manage and track them via one platform,” explained Ron Huberman, president of PeopleAdmin and former superintendent of Chicago Public Schools.
But Thrive doesn’t only simplify PD management for administrators.
“Thrive is very easy to use,” said Sandi Thompson, executive secretary of Lewis County Schools in West Virginia. “It’s very easy for me to add my people to the classes that we have had so far this year.”