As a public charter school in Texas, Leadership Prep School’s enrollment depends on employing top teachers, administrators and staff so parents elect to send their children to the school.
“We’re a school of choice, so parents bring their children here because of who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Michelle Holland, principal of Leadership Prep’s elementary campus. “They recognize their other options, and they have high expectations for success in the classroom. That comes with a lot of responsibility for us, but it’s also freeing because we know these parents are invested in their children’s education.”
To place a quality teacher in every classroom, Leadership Prep uses a sophisticated hiring process that includes having teacher candidates take the TalentEd Educators Professional Inventory (EPI) — a research-based assessment that objectively predicts the impact candidates will have on student achievement.
“We know the teacher is the main difference in the classroom, so hiring well is a main priority for us,” Michelle said. “We wanted a tool to help make sure we were making good hires.”
Leadership Prep has always used a two-tiered interview process to evaluate teacher candidates, but implementing the EPI gave them a clearer, more objective picture of their candidates’ capabilities.
“Teaching has gotten more difficult,” Michelle explained. “Having more information to help you hire quality people is invaluable.”
The proof of EPI’s effectiveness came when Leadership Prep had their current teachers take the assessment, and compared the scores with the teachers’ performance.
“We had them take it just to get a feel for how accurate it was because I knew who my master teachers were,” Michelle said. “It was a fascinating comparison. I definitely saw the scores reflect who the masters were and who were on their way.”
Michelle found the results for one teacher particularly insightful.
“What’s funny is one the of the first teachers we hired — before we had the EPI — was probably one of the worst interviewers but was the most amazing teacher,” Michelle said. “When she took the EPI, she got a great score.”
While the EPI helps identify the best teachers, what Michelle finds most valuable is the Professional Development Profile (PDP) — a detailed report that provides teacher candidates with actionable steps to maximize their strengths and address opportunities for improvement.
“We’re able to see where they’re going to need growth, and we’re planning that into our professional development for the next year,” Michelle said. “And I use the PDPs as a comparison for my evaluations, as well. There are a few outliers at times, but they usually match up very well.”
Leadership Prep also provides PDPs to the teachers they hire.
“We make sure they have a copy of it so they can see their strengths and areas for growth because they get to plan some of their own professional development,” Michelle said. “Not only is it helping them be the best teacher that they can be, but knowing where they need support lets us be better supervisors.”
In addition to the benefits of better hiring and developing quality educators, Michelle touted the support TalentEd provides.
“I’ve always had great customer service. They even reach out proactively before I need anything” she said. “I get little check-ins, where they ask, ‘Is everything good? Do you need anything?’ It’s been excellent.”