It’s all about student achievement

We hope by now you’ve seen the exciting news…

PeopleAdmin last month acquired TeacherMatch, an innovative K-12 software solutions provider offering the only data-driven, research-based and analytically predictive teacher assessment tool in the market.

Together, PeopleAdmin and TeacherMatch’s combined offerings are creating the most comprehensive cloud-based talent management solution available on the market today. By investing in a company that uses predictive analytics to identify which teacher candidates are most likely to deliver academic growth for their students, we can transform how schools hire the best teachers, develop them, grow their talent and maximize their potential throughout the course of their professional life cycle.

We believe this will have exponential impact on student achievement … which is what it’s all about.

We will continue to offer and support TalentEd, SchoolSpring and SearchSoft. And you can expect the same level of service or better as PeopleAdmin and TeacherMatch leverage combined resources and capabilities to deliver innovative solutions even faster.

I want to thank you for your continued partnership and trust. We look forward to providing the highest quality solutions, services and industry insights to you for many more years to come.

Customer Spotlight: Prosper Independent School District

How the right technology can get principals and teachers talking … and students on track for success

The staff at Prosper Independent School District (ISD) understands that the key to an effective performance evaluation is communication. So they knew it was time for a change when they realized their performance evaluation software was actually inhibiting crucial conversations between principals and teachers.

“Our principals spent hours needlessly working with our system, instead of communicating with teachers,” said Bernadette Gerace, director of human resources at Prosper ISD near Dallas, Texas. “I was looking for a new solution that would allow our principals and teachers to really establish a connection.”

Bernadette began by researching PeopleAdmin’s TalentEd Perform. As a current TalentEd customer, she knew she could trust PeopleAdmin’s solutions and support.

“When we first got TalentEd Recruit & Hire, I thought, ‘This is going to change the way we hire for the better.’ And it was absolutely true,” she said. “Records also has been so helpful in getting all of our personnel records online. I wanted to be equally satisfied with our performance evaluation solution.”

As one of the districts tasked with implementing the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (TTESS) during the 2015-2016 school year, Prosper ISD’s leaders also needed a quick implementation and proven technology that would meet TTESS’s student growth measures. They found it all in Perform.

“Perform is going to allow us to pull student growth measures in and actually view them and work with them while we’re looking at teachers,” she said. “They’re going to integrate so much more easily, so we’ll not only be able to look at what the student growth measure is, but how the students are growing. We can look at it and analyze it, connecting it to so many sets of TTESS measures.”

What the district found most impressive, however, were Perform’s customization options. “Being able to customize the analytics and reporting is, for me — and for principals, I think — more important than anything.”

Integration with their other talent management solutions also provides the visibility and insights needed to improve student outcomes.

“We’re looking at performance from a bird’s-eye view because you’ve got the entire teacher life cycle — the beginning, the records, and the evaluation piece — all together,” Bernadette said. “We can look at everything and really start using that information to better our curriculum and instruction, as well as our hiring practice.

“We can start to pinpoint those aspects of hiring that are actually making a difference and have a connection with performance,” she added, acknowledging that other solutions don’t enable such comprehensive analysis. “One thing that I love about working with PeopleAdmin is the innovation that continues to occur. Before I even thought about what I wanted, PeopleAdmin thought about what I needed — that helps me do my job better.”

Learn more or request a demo to see how TalentEd Perform can help your school or district improve teacher evaluation processes.

“You guys do a great job! Every time I have a question, I get an answer!”

— Staci Branson, payroll clerk,
Siloam Springs School District


“I have spoken with two different technical support team members since using this system, and they were both very helpful and beneficial! I could not have asked for better help.”

— Robin Scharer, human resources secretary,
Buckingham County Public Schools


“The team is always very supportive and knowledgeable. Thanks for being there!”

— Shirley Brom, human resources,
Cypress-Fairbanks School District

Schools and districts can now hire smarter, thanks to research and predictive analytics

3 must-knows about the Educators Professional Inventory (EPI)®

Few things in K-12 education matter as much as making sure you have the right teachers at the front of your classrooms.

That’s why PeopleAdmin is excited to welcome a first-of-its-kind screening and hiring tool to our talent management suite.

Thanks to our recent partnership with TeacherMatch, PeopleAdmin is empowering principals and hiring teams to use data and analytics — alongside their own observations and instincts — to hire today’s best teachers.

Our revolutionary Educators Professional Inventory (EPI) is a data-driven hiring tool that helps schools and districts identify, hire and develop the most effective K-12 educators. Especially now, with so many schools struggling with teacher shortages, districts all across the U.S. are turning to the EPI to maximize their investment in talent and human resources through the science of predictive analytics.

“The EPI was something that we felt could be used as an analytical tool to help us limit the pool and at least give us a starting point to narrow down very broad fields of candidates to the strongest candidates available,” said Craig Bertsch, Ed.D., assistant superintendent, HR, for Fullerton School District in California.

What’s more, school leaders say, the EPI helps districts keep their eye on the larger goal of improving student achievement as they go about the everyday task of filling vacant positions.

“The EPI tool will enable us to better vet our candidates and put the best candidates where they’re needed to provide our students with the best possible education,” said Rick Morton, systems analyst, with Brevard County Schools in Florida.

Below are answers to common questions regarding the research, data and technology behind the EPI:

1. How should the data and information from the EPI be used?

The EPI was created by former educators and school leaders who understand the importance of balancing quantitative and qualitative criteria during the hiring process. Credentials, interviews, sample lessons, etc., all offer valuable insight into whether a candidate would be a strong hire. The EPI offers more objective information and data points to complement these insights and inform hiring decisions. Principals and hiring teams are encouraged to use the EPI data in addition to their observations and instincts in hiring the best teachers.

2. What research is behind the EPI?

The EPI was formed in partnership with a proprietary research consortium that includes a group of renowned universities and researchers. They conducted studies of diverse school districts across the U.S. and developed what is now the most significant study associating actual student growth with specific teachers. The studies found that it is possible to identify teachers likely to deliver academic growth using four key success indicators, which include teaching skills, attitudinal factors, cognitive ability, and qualifications.

3. How does the EPI predict teacher impact on student academic growth?

Drawing from decades of educational research and proprietary studies, the EPI items were developed in collaboration with experts in psychometrics, predictive modeling and educational assessments. Using the key success indicators, the EPI gathers information about a candidate’s strengths and areas for improvement to predict the likelihood that they will positively impact student academic growth. Additionally, the EPI items regularly go through rigorous validation processes to maintain optimal health and accuracy.

Learn more about EPI

ESSA, student data, and the future of teacher evaluations

Despite revised evaluation policies, student outcomes will likely remain an important measure of a teacher’s success

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law six months ago, gave states the authority to determine new teacher evaluation criteria. And though states haven’t yet updated their teacher evaluation policies, it’s unlikely they will completely eliminate the use of student data … which means there will always be a need for better tools to help districts identify, hire and develop the most effective K-12 educators.

“Student testing continues to be part of the legislation,” said Lisa Andrejko, Ed.D., strategic advisor for PeopleAdmin and former teacher, principal, director of technology, superintendent and teacher evaluation researcher. “If states have those data, they should be factored into evaluations in some form. States won’t collect it just for the sake of collecting it.”

What Lisa believes may change is the way that student data are used. Her hope is that states leverage student data to drive performance development, rather than to be used for purposes of punishment.

“Teachers want to do well, but when they feel threatened, they get defensive instead of collaborative,” Lisa said. “If you remove the threat, they’ll be much more willing to look at student data and get involved in the improvement process.”

Additionally, she anticipates states will widen their focus when it comes to data. “We can’t just look at one data set and think we know the full story,” she said. “We need multiple sources of information — how are the teachers’ relationships with their students? Are they engaged? What do their supervisors observe? What about students, parents and peers? More information will give you a more robust picture.”

Lisa says that no matter what information we use to develop that picture, however, one thing remains clear: Student outcomes are and always should be a critical indicator of a teacher’s success.

With that in mind, PeopleAdmin, as a result of its partnership with TeacherMatch, now offers the Educators Professional Inventory (EPI)®. Using EPI, principals and hiring teams can predict how new teachers will impact student outcomes … before they ever enter the classroom.

The EPI platform is an assessment tool built on evidence-based research from 60 diverse schools, along with a research consortium that includes Northwest Evaluation Association and the University of Chicago, to measure four core success indicators that identify highly effective teachers who will deliver measurable student growth.

“As we all wait for the next changes to come, look at teacher supervision and evaluation as the means to improve teaching and learning, not only as a compliance issue,” Lisa said. “Schools should focus on what they want to gain from an excellent teacher supervision, evaluation, and professional development model.”

Learn more about EPI, or contact us for more information on how we can assist you in your quest for excellence in teacher evaluation and overall talent management.

Preparing for summer vacancies: Q&A with Melva Cárdenas, former teacher, principal and HR executive director

‘There are a lot of moving parts this time of year,’ Melva says, read the best ways to deal with summer surprises

Melva Cárdenas

Melva Cárdenas

As spring contract renewals finalize and summer’s busy recruiting and hiring season begins, finding time to prepare for unexpected vacancies is vital to making sure positions are filled for the upcoming school year.

But preparing for the unknown doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem, according to 33-year veteran educator and HR leader Melva Cárdenas.

Melva’s career in education is long and varied. She has held roles as a teacher, principal and HR executive director at Texas’ Midland ISD and Round Rock ISD. She was also director of educator certification at the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and executive director for the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA). After leaving TASPA in 2015, she served as a field supervisor for an alternative certification program and is currently a regional strategic advisor at PeopleAdmin.

We spoke to Melva recently about what schools and districts can do over the summer to prepare for a successful school year:

Q: What are the biggest challenges HR departments will face over the summer?

“While the main recruiting season is already over, a lot of surprise vacancies will pop up, and districts need to be ready for that. They need to think about resignations, for example. Teachers will continue to resign throughout the summer, regardless of resignation deadlines they may have in their contracts. Then there are unexpected transfer requests, and updates to the master schedules might reduce the number of teachers a district is allowed to employ. There are a lot of moving parts this time of year.”

Q: How can schools and districts prepare for surprise vacancies?

“The most important thing is keeping a large applicant pool. For certain positions — math and science teachers, in particular — that’s not always easy, so you really have to take an active role. Go to job fairs, contact the career services departments of different universities, and reach out to alternative certification programs to see if they know any teachers who have not yet been employed.

“PeopleAdmin’s SchoolSpring can also help you fill vacancies. With more than 800,000 unique visitors per month, it’s an excellent place to find qualified candidates.”

Q: How quickly do vacancies need to be filled?

“You’re competing with a lot of other districts for candidates, so you want to move quickly with high-quality talent. You also don’t want to find yourself with a hard-to-fill position in August. That being said, sometimes there is a perception that if you wait until August, you’re only going to find less qualified teachers, but I never felt that way.

“Teachers are transitional. Sometimes they have to abruptly resign at the end of summer due to a reduction in their schools’ available positions. Also, recent graduates often want to work near the university they graduated from, so they wait until the last minute to reach out to districts that aren’t in that area. You might be surprised who you can find.”

Q: How can districts ensure new teachers are ready at the start of the school year?

“Setting up electronic methods to streamline the onboarding process is the best bet. Large districts might bring in 900 to 1,000 teachers each year. Considering how time-consuming onboarding can be, trying to just grit their way through that process won’t be feasible. Small districts, on the other hand, have smaller HR departments — and sometimes, no HR department at all — making efficiency critical.”

People of PeopleAdmin: Kari Phelan, Customer Success Consultant

‘Seeing the commitment that school administrators have to students has been a humbling experience for me.’

How long have you been with PA?
About a year and a half.

What made you choose PeopleAdmin?
I wanted to work for a company that cared about its employees, a company that was innovative and welcomed new ideas, and that had a mission to serve more than the bottom line.

PeopleAdmin offers it all, and I’m so glad to be part of this team!

How would you describe what you do?
I work one-on-one with new customers to train them on using and configuring our software.

My goal is to prepare them to go live with a new solution and help them redesign their processes to improve efficiency and productivity.

How has working with customers helped you grow in your career with PeopleAdmin?
I love getting to work so closely with our customers; building relationships throughout an implementation makes me feel like I’m part of their team.

Speaking of teams, I’m also grateful to work with awesome people at PeopleAdmin who make it easy and exciting to come to work every day.

What does providing “an amazing customer experience” mean to you?
It means that I’m not just a software vendor trying to train a customer as quickly as possible so I can move onto the next project. Instead, I’m working alongside each customer, customizing the training and setup of the system to match their specific needs.

I view each implementation as relational instead of transactional — I want my customers to feel like they have a partner and an advocate at PeopleAdmin.