On Jan. 18, 2012, DCPS hosted the second IMPACT Teacher Evaluation Summit. The day-long conference included a thorough overview and discussion of key outcomes and lessons learned from the innovative IMPACT evaluation system implemented by DCPS two years ago.
Attendees included representatives from school districts and nonprofit organizations from 17 states and school districts across the nation.
“This summit is a great idea,” said Jane Hannaway, vice president at the American Institutes for Research. “It helps educate people more broadly from across the country. For researchers like me, it triggers questions we need to ask.”
Conference attendees were invited to participate in lively discussions with various human capital and accountability officials from high-performing districts around the country; share innovative teacher evaluation ideas and practices; and improve professional connections in the field.
“We are grateful to have this opportunity to learn from our colleagues so that we can all move forward in our quest to ensure that there is an excellent leader in every classroom,” said Tracy Breslin, senior advisor for Talent Management at the Newark Public Schools. “The honest and candid discussion about lessons learned, challenges and innovation solutions will help all of us implement effective systems of education evaluation and support.”
The conference was co-sponsored by The New Teacher Project and funded, in part, by support from The Joyce Foundation.
“DCPS deserves tremendous credit for serving as the pioneer in this field,” said Tim Daly, president of TNTP. “Their willingness to share what they have learned will benefit tens of thousands of teachers and untold numbers of kids.”
IMPACT is the evaluation system for the nearly 7,000 school-based personnel in the DC Public Schools. First introduced in 2009, the system is designed to help staff become more effective by clarifying expectations, providing teacher feedback and support, and retaining the best teachers.
Through five evaluations during the school year, teachers are rated on student achievement, instructional expertise, collaboration and professionalism.
All staff members evaluated under IMPACT receive one of four final ratings: Highly Effective, Effective, Minimally Effective, or Ineffective. IMPACT allows DCPS to reward teachers with bonuses as follows: Highly Effective teachers are eligible for performance bonuses of up to $25,000; repeat highly effective staff members are eligible for base salary increases of up to $20,000, in addition to the annual bonuses.
School districts across the country have adopted or are considering similar evaluation systems. Several convened for today’s summit to learn more about the progress of IMPACT in DC Public Schools.
“We all want to do this right. I’m here to learn from the success and the struggles of districts such as DCPS which have been taking the lead,” said Tom Kane, professor of Education and Economics at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
“When you’re doing this type of work, it’s very valuable to hear what others are doing,” Michele Sherban-Kline, assistant principal for Teacher Evaluation and Development at the New Haven Public Schools. “This summit validates what you’re doing and makes you realize you’re not alone and you can turn to others for feedback”
The conference consisted of opening remarks from DCPS and TNTP officials, as well as panels about teacher evaluation operations, external evaluators and evaluation of non-tested grades and subjects.
“The conversation and progress in this area is tremendously helpful,” said Shayne Spalten, chief human resources officer at the Denver Public School. “We appreciate the opportunity to learn from others who have thought deeply about systems to support our teachers and leaders.”
Jim Wycoff, Curry Memorial Professor at the University of Virginia said the summit gave participants an opportunity to share information as school systems work to create systems that attract and retain the best educators.
“DCPS is a leader in this field,” Wycoff said. “Learning from DCPS is an opportunity for all of us.”