The measure of success in every K-12 school or district is the growth and positive impact on the students and the community it serves … and every employee has a role to play in cultivating that success.
“Student achievement starts with the fundamental relationship between the student, the teacher and the content,” said Nick Montgomery, chief research officer at PeopleAdmin. “The talent management supports and structures that exist around the teacher ensure that, through every single year of a teacher’s development, the relationship between the student, the teacher and the content continuously grows stronger.”
So, how do talent management professionals ensure that relationship continuously grows stronger? It starts with hiring the right teachers, then providing them with the tools they need to improve their skills, year after year.
Take the guesswork out of identifying the most influential candidates
“It can be challenging to identify teacher candidates who will positively impact student achievement, especially early in the hiring process,” said Dave Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and past president of the American School Superintendents Association.
To address this common challenge, Nick worked with a research consortium of individuals and organizations with expertise in research, education, psychometrics, and predictive analytics, to pinpoint the exact skills and abilities that lead to the most student gains.
“Having indicators that tell you which educators are going to be successful in the classroom is crucial for the success of a high performing talent management organization,” Nick explained.
That research lead to the creation of the Teacher Educators Professional Inventory (Teacher EPI)® — a first-of-its-kind, research-based teacher assessment tool that allows district leaders to accurately predict which teacher candidates will have the greatest impact on student learning.
“We have found the EPI assessment to be incredibly insightful and essential to making informed decisions as part of our hiring process,” Dave said.
But the research consortium didn’t stop there.
“While teachers are the most important components in terms of student performance, research shows that about 25 percent of a school’s improvement can be attributed to principals,” Nick said. “If you hire the wrong principal, you really are missing the cornerstone for school success.”
To help district leaders hire the most effective principals, the research consortium set out to determine how to predict which principal candidates will have the greatest impact on student learning. Their research lead to the development of the Principal Educators Professional Inventory (Principal EPI)® — a 120-question assessment that allows district leaders and administrators to predict the effectiveness of principal candidates.
“PeopleAdmin’s Principal EPI is a tremendous tool in the creation of our administrative candidate pools,” said Chris Tatum, director of secondary personnel at Amarillo Independent School District in Texas. “It has given our executive team a solid set of data points to make more informed hiring decisions for each of our campus leadership positions.”
Eliminate evaluation hassles and provide actionable feedback
According to Nick, hiring the right principal should be part of a larger effort to provide teachers with the support they need to advance student achievement.
“We want to make sure that we hire great educators and principals, but it’s not just about hiring. It’s also about how we develop and support those educators,” he said. “We need to make sure that every single teacher is supported inside the classroom, every day.”
Jeremy Tabor, 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 need to give them the information, the tools and the resources to do that.”
To provide teachers with the necessary information, tools and resources, school and district leaders must evaluate their current skills and competencies, then provide actionable feedback on what to improve and how.
Bernadette Gerace, director of human resources at Prosper Independent School District near Dallas, Texas, uses Perform — the performance evaluation solution from PeopleAdmin — to assess educators and identify areas for improvement.
“It really gives principals the ability to look at the whole picture for each person and understand what needs to be done for that person for that year,” she said.
Streamline professional development to make the most of time and money invested
Using evaluation data collected in Perform, school and district leaders can identify which professional development (PD) activities would be most beneficial for each teacher.
“Technology now provides us with student data and teacher data, which allows us to be evaluative and self-reflective during professional development planning,” explained 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.”
But tracking teachers’ progress when completing those offerings can be difficult without the right tools.
“Many districts are offering online learning, in-person learning and even giving teachers the opportunity to take professional development outside of the school,” Nick said.
Sandi Thompson, executive secretary of Lewis County Schools in West Virginia, uses Thrive — PeopleAdmin’s professional development management solution — to manage the various different PD activities offered and completed at her district.
“Thrive is very easy to use,” she said. “It’s very easy for me to add my people to the classes that we have had so far this year.”
Thrive also makes it easy to map curriculum to frameworks, track PD records, measure compliance, and report on completion — from any source used by any employee — to complete professional development.
Embracing every opportunity to advance student achievement
By hiring teachers who have the ability to drive student growth and providing opportunities for PD activities that meet each teacher’s specific needs, talent management professionals can empower student achievement at their districts.
“If we want to have a stronger society, a better world, that starts with the opportunities and the education that we provide to all of our children,” Nick said. “Just like any other industry, education has access to a broad array of tools and technologies that didn’t exist five, 10, 15 years ago, so there really are new opportunities to ensure every single educator receives the support they need, and the rest of the staff that support those educators are able to facilitate and encourage growth.”