Working in silos never generates personal or professional growth.
Likewise, when performance reviews, student achievement and professional development are addressed independently, administrators and teachers don’t get the full story and aren’t able to maximize teaching outcomes. But technology is changing that by capturing key data to empower teacher development.
“Technology now provides us with student data and teacher data, which allows us to be evaluative and self-reflective during professional development planning,” said Lisa Andrejko, Ed.D., regional strategic advisor at PeopleAdmin and former teacher, principal, director of technology, and superintendent. “That has made a world of difference for tailoring offerings to meet an individual teacher’s needs.”
Using Perform — PeopleAdmin’s automated performance management solution — Maj. Jeremy Coombs, principal of Willamette Leadership Academy (WLA), is implementing a plan to conduct performance evaluations that drive the professional development of teachers.
“The plan is to have myself or one of my other administrators do walkthroughs about five times a month, then do formal observations once a month, and formal evaluations twice a year,” he said. “We’ll also have some of our teachers do quick walkthroughs of each other and — at the beginning and end of the year — they’ll look at their student learning goals and their performance to see what they need to adjust.”
With 18 teachers employed at WLA, Jeremy is committing to an ambitious 90 walkthroughs per month, but he says Perform makes it possible. “I go through with my iPad, and I just use the digital form. It’s quick and easy.”
While Perform allows school and district leaders to quickly gather meaningful data and information during evaluations, Thrive — PeopleAdmin’s professional development management solution — allows them to track teachers’ development activities … regardless of where they take place.
“Thrive is very easy to use. It’s very easy for me to add my people to the classes that we have had so far this year.”
“Many schools and districts are offering online learning, in-person learning, and even giving teachers the opportunity to take professional development outside of the school,” said Nick Montgomery, chief research officer at PeopleAdmin. “With Thrive, you can track it all.”
Even though the solution tracks complex information from multiple sources, users still tout its simplicity.
“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.”
When used together, Perform and Thrive can provide the data needed to create professional development plans based on each teacher’s needs and track the effectiveness of those plans over time.
“The outcome really is what matters most,” Lisa said, adding that school and district leaders must assess whether or not their professional development offerings are “affecting what’s happening with kids in the classroom.”
Jeremy Tabor, SPHR director of human resources at Burlington Community School District in Iowa, agreed. “That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “We want our teachers to be able to do the best they can each and every day — and we want to give them the information, the tools and the resources to do that.”