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Lemont High School

EvaluWise’s customization and ease of use supports high performance standards at Lemont High School District

District Background

The custom functionality and reliability of EvaluWise teacher evaluation platform is exactly what Lemont Township High School District, located in suburban Chicago, needed to match their high performance standards. Lemont High School was one of only two public high schools in the state of Illinois to be honored by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program in 2017 with the "Exemplary" title, indicating the highest levels of student achievement.

Kathy Young is Chair of the Mathematics Department. She shared how EvaluWise has made an impact on instruction at Lemont High School since they started using it in 2016.

The District’s Challenge

Every school has nuances that make a one-size-fits-all solution fall short. Lemont High School district’s previous evaluation tool did not allow for changes to fit the district’s evaluation cycle and processes. Given that districtwide software often requires substantial investment, training and buy-in from users, the district felt obligated to continue using it, despite it not fully meeting its needs.

Lemont High School District evaluates approximately 100 teachers, coaches, counselors, deans and sponsors of extracurricular activities. Many of their staff have more than one role. When they selected EvaluWise as their evaluation software, they wanted to be sure their evaluations would have an impact. “At Lemont High School, our end goal is that students benefit from the evaluation process. If a teacher is growing and improving his/her instruction, then the students reap those benefits.”

Once the State of Illinois stipulated that evaluation models used by districts and schools needed to be research-based, administrators at Lemont High School knew they needed something more powerful to match their high performance standards. “With EvaluWise we were able to fit the tool to our practices. EvaluWise is incredibly flexible and customizable. This set EvaluWise apart from every other tool.”

How EvaluWise Helped

EvaluWise is designed with principals, administrators and teachers in mind, so the interface is user-friendly and gives evaluators the power to customize the tool to work for them. Evaluators can easily create new rubrics, modify evaluation domains and components, and adjust evaluation cycle timeframes. All of this can be done easily by the school itself.

The district’s prior evaluation process used a narrative format. This required an evaluator to observe the instructor, take notes and then spend hours at their desk, writing a narrative summary. The staff knew that more points of observation would give them more opportunities to improve their teaching and therefore student success, but their previous process took hours. It was cumbersome, and aligning narratives with rubrics was difficult. The EvaluWise platform gave Lemont High School control to customize their observations without burdening evaluators with additional hours of work. For their staff, the tool has enabled them to do more, without feeling like it’s more work.

“EvaluWise goes everywhere we do. We have teachers who are behind the wheel, and the department chair can observe them in the car. We have observed coaches during PE class on the tennis courts, and we have even completed observations on field trips.”

For Lemont High School, the performance standards are high, and they’ve found it possible to increase the number of observations because EvaluWise is streamlined and user-friendly. “EvaluWise is a valuable tool for anyone truly looking to use the evaluation process to improve instruction - period!”

Results at Lemont High School District

Impact on performance

  • “We wanted our evaluations to have an impact on teacher growth and instruction. EvaluWise has helped us do that.” Lemont High School district has seen the impact of EvaluWise on the growth of their teachers and students. With more points of observation specifically suited to their school, they are actively tracking the professional development of their staff. The results on student performance are being acknowledged nationally.

Customizable rubrics

  • EvaluWise gives schools the ability to easily customize their evaluation criteria and rubrics. “Our athletic director was able to customize the domains and evaluation components to fit the specific needs of his department.”

Transparency for both evaluators and teachers

  • Teachers only have to work with one tool, even if they have multiple roles. If desired, the principal can view the evaluations for all the instructor’s roles and see the bigger picture for their performance and professional development. EvaluWise provides a teacher portal that allows staff to collaborate and communicate with evaluators, upload instructional artifacts, and view their evaluation data. The portal provides a higher level of comfort and transparency.

Control to modify evaluation parameters and questions

  • Different staff roles will be evaluated by different rubrics. With EvaluWise, the school has the option and ability to create or modify rubrics themselves. This flexibility saves them time and provides districts with control over their evaluation process.

Flexibility to define evaluation cycles

  • EvaluWise allows schools to define the time frame of their evaluation cycles. The evaluation cycle at Lemont High School ends on January 31st. When the school is ready to archive their last cycle and start over, they are in control of that process.