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Plainfield

EvaluWise makes the evaluation process consistent across large-scale, suburban district

District Background

Plainfield Community Consolidated District 202, located outside Chicago, is one of the largest school districts in the state of Illinois. With over 27,000 students, they needed a tool that could be adopted by teachers and administrators from K-12. EvaluWise has streamlined their evaluations and given clarity to the process.  

Dr. Scott Fink is Director of Elementary Administration and Personnel. He researched the program and presented it to the district Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent.  “I looked at numerous electronic evaluation programs. I talked to sales reps from each company, I made reference calls. I got official bids. When it came down to the selection process, we had the teacher’s union, we had administrators and district leadership involved. Many factors were considered: ease of use, clarity - the look of the program/friendly interface, of course cost was a consideration.”  Dr. Fink shares how using EvaluWise transformed their evaluation process.

Challenges

As a large district, Plainfield District 202 has many teachers and administrators to evaluate. They were using a word processor, which was problematic. Administrators could change the formatting, and some would highlight different aspects of the observations. When it came time for a summative conference, evaluators would have to cut-and-paste previous evaluations.

As a result, the process was time consuming, especially for evaluators.  When they observed a teacher, they would type their observations into the document or they would go back to their office to transcribe notes into the document. 

How EvaluWise Helped

They decided upon EvaluWise because of the easy-to-use interface, their confidence in the customer service team, and the ease of transition to a digital platform.  In their first year, Plainfield District 202 did not change their evaluation criteria.  They simply transitioned to the digital platform. For them that was a good first step for everyone who needed to be trained.

Now in their second year, the district has implemented custom rubrics for roles such as school social workers, school psychologists, reading specialists, and instructional coaches. That’s something that has taken time, but it has made the evaluations more relevant and effective for staff in those roles.

With EvaluWise, evaluators find it much easier to script evaluations without having the redundant work of re-entering it again later. Since the rubric is built into the platform, it is easier to identify what evidence pairs with what domain and component. This makes coding information easier and the time-stamp feature reinforces accuracy.

“It saves our evaluators an hour for every evaluation they do, which is substantial when you consider that it’s only October and we’ve already done 1,200 evaluations this year.”

District 202 encompasses multiple schools that span from pre-K to high school, principals and teachers have access to all the same forms, documents and artifacts in one place. Teachers can upload artifacts at any time, and they can see if they are lacking evidence for specific components too.

The transparency of the tool has made the evaluation process more collaborative.  “I’ve heard our evaluators say that EvaluWise allows them to have better conversations with their teachers at post-conference and summative meetings, because all the material is organized. “

Results at Plainfield

“Due to our large size, consistency was an absolute need for us”

  • With such a large number of staff (teachers, principals, administrators), the district needs everyone to be on the same page. Previously it was easy to be overwhelmed with the paperwork. With EvaluWise, their process for evaluation is streamlined, up-to-date, accurate and accessible by everyone involved.

Transparency led to a shift in thinking about the process of evaluation

  • “I really do feel it is beneficial for the teachers for them to be part of the process, rather than this [evaluation process] being something done to them.”  The transparency of the tool helped us shift from an old way of thinking that evaluation was only about scrutinizing the work. Now, it’s a welcome process and new hires are able to understand it quickly and see the value of it for their work. 

It allows for continued professional development for tenured staff

  • Tenured teachers in an “off year” of their evaluation cycle can still set professional development goal for themselves. If they want to find out the effects of a specific program or teaching strategy, they can set that goal with their administrator. The opportunity to set those goals for themselves creates a sense of ownership.