‘With a digital system, teachers and principals have everything they need at their fingertips, so they can grow and reflect.’
Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 is advancing its academic mission through technology and transforming the way students and staff learn and grow.
What’s more, they’re doing it so effectively that others are taking notice.
The Center for Digital Education recently recognized the district’s Chief Technology Officer, Jennie Magiera, with the “Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers” award for her efforts to improve education through innovative technologies and for creating a positive impact on student achievement.
District 62’s leaders, Dr. Paul Hertel, associate superintendent, human resources, Dr. Bradley Stein, Ph.D., principal at Terrace Elementary School, and Dr. Michael Amadei, principal at Iroquois Community School, all agree that the district’s implementation of PeopleAdmin’s TalentEd Perform has played a critical part in that success. They say the performance management solution is helping them improve process consistency and transparency, comply with strict evaluation requirements, and deliver comprehensive feedback to teachers — increasing their effectiveness and ultimately improving student outcomes.
“We expect students to embrace the digital transformation — every classroom is a fully integrated digital environment — and we expect teachers and leaders to take on the digital transformation, too,” Michael said. “We’ve marginalized the use of paper around here and teachers are now able — with the documents they’re uploading and sharing with us from the privacy of their own homes or other collaboration time — to get the feedback they want so they can grow as educators.”
District 62 has been pleased with the improvements they’ve seen in their performance management process since implementing TalentEd Perform.
“It’s made our administrators’ lives a lot easier,” Paul 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. And it keeps everybody honest.”
Michael added, “Teachers like that they actually had our notes from former evaluations prior to filling out any kind of post-conference information. There isn’t a feeling of ‘gotcha’ or that we’re both coming to the table with different sets of information at a post-conference. It’s all upfront.”
Easy access to past evaluations has also improved quality and consistency in evaluations.
“When we work with the teachers who are growing,” Michael said, “there’s better consistency with the framework and the language that we’re using. What does an ‘excellent’ really mean? What does a ‘proficient’ really mean? Now that the structure is consistent across the district, we can focus more on communicating the quality of what we’re seeing to teachers. That gives us higher-quality evaluations, which can lead to big gains in teacher growth.”
“When teachers reflect on their work more because of this process,” Bradley said, “and when they feel like they can share more, it gives us as evaluators an opportunity to see some of the things we might not otherwise see.
“I think that Perform has changed my entire life as it pertains to teacher evaluation just because everything is in one place,” Bradley added, noting how Perform also auto-saves and allows for attachments.
Because in the end, he said, being able to embrace the digital transformation means teachers teaching better… and students learning.