DC Public Schools

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IMPACT: The DCPS Evaluation and Feedback System for School-Based Personnel

In 2009, DCPS reinvented its teacher evaluation process into a rigorous, multiple measure system that gives all school-based employees clear and actionable feedback. Designed with input from teachers and administrators, this research-based approach to evaluation created a strong performance-based culture across the district.

A Focus on Continuous Improvement

Through IMPACT, DCPS provides continuous feedback to both celebrate our high-quality school-based staff and provide opportunities for ongoing growth and development.  

Fall 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the implementation of IMPACT. Informed by Chancellor Ferebee’s engagement with DCPS staff and our district’s commitment to ensuring that DCPS continues to attract and retain the best teachers in the nation, DCPS launched a comprehensive review of IMPACT, focused on teacher evaluation, starting Fall 2019. Through this process, DCPS embarked on a multi-year examination of how we can update our current performance evaluation system to ensure our teachers have the support that they need to succeed and continue to be held to consistent, high standards.

This process has been and will continue to be informed by feedback from DCPS stakeholders – from members of the Washington Teachers’ Union to school leaders to national evaluation experts – to ensure that our evaluation system evolves in a way that continues to support the success of all educators and to provide all students with access to high-quality instruction. In this process, we have partnered with educational experts to support our feedback-gathering and analysis, so that the final result reflects the needs of our community and is aligned with national best practices that continue to make DCPS a leader in teacher quality and support. 

August 2021 IMPACT Review Update 

An initial set of findings from the Review were shared with DCPS stakeholders in August 2021.   

An initial set of evolutions to IMPACT was announced in August 2021, informed by findings to date.

Note that the IMPACT Review is still in progress. Further evolutions to IMPACT will be explored in the coming year for implementation in SY 22-23 and beyond.  

Putting Growth First

IMPACT reflects our belief that everyone in our system plays a critical role in improving student outcomes. With an outstanding teacher in every classroom and excellent staff members throughout our schools, our students will graduate prepared for success. IMPACT supports professional growth by:

  1. Clarifying Expectations — IMPACT outlines clear performance expectations and provides a common language of success for all school-based employees.
  2. Providing Frequent and Meaningful Feedback — Quality feedback is a key element in improving one’s practice. Regular feedback opportunities support reflection and action planning toward excellence.

“I’m so lucky to have started my teaching career in DCPS and to have developed my craft under IMPACT. The feedback I have received from observers over the years has made me a better teacher and in turn has helped my students learn in a more joyful classroom. Teaching in DCPS isn’t like teaching anywhere else. Having a framework like IMPACT — the inspiring Essential Practices, the professional development opportunities, the continuous focus on growth and collaboration with leadership — shows how much DCPS values its teachers and values learning. I’m very thankful to be a part of it.”

- DCPS Teacher, Eastern Senior High School

IMPACT for Teachers

DCPS teachers receive feedback through four core IMPACT measures:

Instructional Practice: DCPS' definition of great instruction is captured in its recently created Essential Practices (EP) observation rubric. Among the key ideas in the EPs are rigor, student ownership of learning, and an inclusive and supportive classroom culture.
Student Achievement: All DCPS teachers set ambitious student achievement goals specific to their content areas. Many teachers also have a "value-added" measure (based on the PARCC assessment) that assesses growth in student learning.


Instructional Culture: Many DCPS teachers receive feedback on classroom culture from their students through a research-based survey administered each year. The survey asks students to respond to statements like: "My teacher gives us time to explain our thoughts."
Collaboration: Teachers are recognized for the many contributions they make to their school communities beyond their core instructional duties.

Celebrating Teachers

Great teachers are essential to student success. That is why DCPS teachers who earn Highly Effective ratings are rewarded with bonuses up to $25,000 and can earn up to $3.7 million over the course of their careers through IMPACTplus—DCPS’s performance-based compensation system. By paying teachers what they are worth, DCPS excels at retaining its most effective teachers, particularly in its highest-need schools.

93%+ of "Highly Effective" teachers are retained in DCPS; 94%+ of DCPS' best teachers are retained in high-poverty schools.

Highly Effective teachers are also celebrated at Standing Ovation, an annual gala hosted by the DC Public Education Fund. This star-studded celebration honors the achievements of DCPS' top teachers, publicly recognizing their outstanding work and awarding cash prizes. Grammy-winning recording artists such as John Legend, Wyclef Jean, and Roberta Flack have performed at this event to honor DCPS teachers.

Learn more about IMPACT: