Project Description

Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62
Greater Chicago, Illinois
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  • 5,268 students (PK – 8)
  • 433 teachers & certified staff
  • 11 buildings

Before Perform:
Paper-based evaluation processes that didn’t meet expectations.

With Perform:
Empowered educators and administrators through consistency and transparency that supports meaningful, comprehensive feedback and growth.

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School district enhances teaching effectiveness, improves student outcomes using performance management technology

Situation

Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 encourages students and staff to use technology to enhance education. After realizing their paper-based evaluation processes weren’t meeting that standard, were causing confusion among campus administrators, and failed to leave a lasting impact on teachers’ professional development, District 62 leaders began looking for a more strategic evaluation solution. The district implemented PeopleAdmin’s TalentEd Perform to help teachers and leaders meet strict bi-annual evaluation requirements, improve consistency and transparency among hundreds of evaluations, and provide more meaningful, comprehensive feedback to ultimately improve student outcomes.

Challenges

Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 requires schools to evaluate each of their 400-plus certified teachers at least once every other year. This requirement was very challenging for school and district leaders because of the volume of evaluations, the 18-step evaluation process for pre-tenured teachers, and the high number of instructors leading classes on more than one campus.

“When we were doing an evaluation on paper for an employee who was shared between buildings, it was difficult for principals to figure out what cycle they were on, what year they were on, who evaluated them in the past and what their ratings were,” said Dr. Bradley Stein, Ph.D., principal of the district’s Terrace Elementary School. “We would have to bother the superintendent’s office to ask where the person was, where they are in the process, and then call another principal to get a copy of the last evaluation. I felt really overly burdened with the amount of paper and paperwork that we had to do in our extensive process.”

“The paper process also hindered consistency and transparency,” said Dr. Paul Hertel, associate superintendent, human resources. During his paper-based evaluation days, Paul remembers speaking with a principal about a teacher evaluation and realizing they had both seen the same teacher give the same lesson years apart. “Teachers don’t always save their observations. Then if they’re having difficulties or they want something, they reach out to us to provide it. With an electronic system, teachers and principals have all of that at their fingertips, so they can grow and reflect. And it keeps everybody honest.”

Digital transformation for leaders and teachers – empowering professional growth

Solution

With their main challenges identified, Paul, Bradley and Dr. Michael Amadei, principal at District 62’s Iroquois Community School, started looking for a performance management solution that could meet their needs.

PeopleAdmin’s TalentEd Perform quickly stood out because the solution was widely known and used by hundreds of districts throughout the United States — many of whom praised their relationships with PeopleAdmin.

“We were comfortable knowing that we’d be able to pick up the phone and get an answer, maybe immediately or within a day or two, and knowing that PeopleAdmin would not drop the ball,” Paul said. “I think it comes down to service, which has been top-notch, but we also found that the look and the aesthetics of the product were pleasing. It’s easy to work with and not overcomplicated.”

But District 62 also wanted an evaluation solution that would empower their teachers to grow as educators.

“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. One reason teachers have embraced TalentEd Perform is because it’s an easy way for them to provide supporting documentation for their evaluations. “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. I think that’s the biggest piece.”

Results

As expected, Des Plaines Community Consolidated School District 62 has been pleased with PeopleAdmin support and with the improvements they’ve seen in the performance management process since implementing TalentEd Perform.

It’s made our administrators’ lives a lot easier, our tracking system is working very well and I’ve heard no negatives from either principals or our teachers’ association. Everything seems to be working smoothly,” Paul said.

“One thing that teachers like is that they actually had our notes from former evaluations prior to filling out any kind of post-conference information,” Michael said. “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 that are growing, 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,” Michael said. “That gives us higher-quality evaluations, which can lead to big gains for teacher growth.”

Bradley said, “When teachers reflect on their work more because of this process and 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, it auto-saves and you can add attachments.

“In the end,” Bradley concluded, “that all leads to better teaching, and what this is all really about — kids learning.”