This week, we feature a guest blog post from Dr. Kelly Andrews. Kelly is a long time Standard For Success user who utilizes SFS’s analytics to drive professional development as a practicing administrator.
As an active principal in Indiana from 2000 – 2016, I experienced many changes in educational evaluation for principals, teachers and support staff. Historically, educators were not being evaluated regularly and if they were, it was as a checklist with no real feedback to increase teacher/principal effectiveness. I remember that my colleagues and I were looking for efficient ways to facilitate the new 2012 law of yearly evaluations for all employees with effectiveness, transparency and efficiency. We came upon information from Todd Whitlock who, as an IT Director in his rural Indiana school, was working with friends to develop a way to capture all the information online with confidentiality. Up to this point, we were doing everything on reams of paper and the teacher files were so cumbersome, feedback and turnaround time with teachers was difficult to execute.
I was intrigued by Todd’s idea to put the rubrics and observation notes on a website that could be shared in real time with teachers. Enhanced with reminders, analytics, easy navigation, and immediate response time from the developers, the art of evaluation was changed forever.
During my many active years with the Indiana Association of School Principals, administrators regularly discussed the research that educators do not improve their practice without timely feedback and supported SFS as it was growing. SFS has provided a platform for any model of evaluation in Indiana and now serves other models in many states as it is completely customizable to the needs of each district.
“Traveling” with Standard For Success
I now serve as the Executive Director of a small independent public charter school in Miami, Florida. Finding they were still in the paper pencil business of evaluations, I immediately called SFS and contracted with them for DCS. SFS customized our state-approved rubrics in their system, and this change in the evaluation process delivery was welcomed by the staff and principals. While change in anything can create a learning curve, the technological efficiency has increased the culture of professional development for the educators and support staff on campus.
Other companies are being developed that mirror SFS, however, I believe that SFS has created the base and continues to outperform all those who attempt to emulate them. Customer service and regular developments are immediate. Todd and company are problem solvers and they are always looking for ways to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and ways to improve education. As SFS grows and expands its services to the masses, it is gratifying to know that part of their mission is to keep a very personal approach in working with each district. That is something you can count on.
Dr. Kelly Andrews is a retired principal from Indiana who served as President of IASP in 2015. Dr. Andrews’ published research on the evaluation of principals in Indiana was presented at the American Educational Research Association in Washington DC in 2016. She has also served as an adjunct professor in Educational Leadership. Dr. Andrews currently serves as the Executive Director of Doctors Charter School of Miami Shores, Florida. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools.