Are you missing out on the real value of performance management?

Part 3: Using performance data to drive personalized professional development

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how K-12 leaders can leverage performance management to build a culture of continuous improvement. In Part 2, we discussed how to use technology to collect and analyze performance data that align with district priorities.

But collecting and analyzing data isn’t enough. District leaders must use the information and insights gained to improve classroom instruction.

“We want our teachers to be able to do the best they can each and every day,” said Jeremy Tabor, director of human resources at Burlington Community School District in Iowa. “And we want to be able to give them the information, the tools and the resources to do that.”

By creating data-based professional development plans, district leaders can address teachers’ strengths and opportunities for improvement identified during performance evaluations at the district, school and individual level.

“Data-driven professional development can provide the platform for educators to continually evolve, grow and master their teaching skills through their entire career,” said Lisa Andrejko, Ed.D., strategic education advisor at TalentEd and former teacher, principal, director of technology and superintendent.

During her time as a superintendent, Lisa’s district focused on measuring educator performance data for 10 core competencies — including assessment, instruction and student engagement — based on their ability to impact student learning … but using that data to determine the most effective professional development activities requires the right technology.

At Comal Independent School District in Texas, TalentEd Perform — the K-12 education-specific performance management solution — empowers principals to better understand which professional development activities will have the greatest impact on classroom instruction.

“Using Perform, we’re able to look at performance data for each individual, and we use that to drive their professional development activities,” explained Marie Kuehler, director of human resources and customer service at the district. “That’s been a huge tool for our director of professional learning. We’re actually saying, ‘This is where we need help’ and ‘We don’t need to focus on this.’”

Mandy Epley, executive director of human resources and customer service at Comal ISD, agreed.

“We look at the evaluation data in Perform so the principal can say, ‘I need you to complete this course because this is the area in your evaluation where you had the most room to improve,” she explained.

The key to maximizing this approach? Continually assessing the impact of professional development activities.

“The outcome really is what matters most,” said Lisa, adding that school and district leaders must view success through the lens of whether or not professional development activities are “affecting what’s happening with kids in the classroom.”

This is done by comparing evaluation data year over year to determine whether professional development is actually improving teacher performance.

“Districts need to identify areas of need, plan professional development to support teachers in those areas of need, and then look up supervision data after the professional development occurs to see if the teachers have improved in those areas,” Lisa explained. “Then we can see if the professional development has been effective and make adjustments as needed.”

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