Education Featured Article
April 26, 2012
Beresford School District of South Dakota Enhances Educator Effectiveness through New Observation and Evaluation Tool
By Carolyn J Dawson, TMCnet Contributor
Beresford School District in South Dakota has test-driven Pearson's Teacher Compass (News - Alert) software on the iPad with a focus on ramping up professional development for teachers. This innovative tool from Pearson is an online program that enables school administrators to gather teacher observation data in line with district-specific expectations to enhance teaching and instruction activities. The rural school district currently has 650 students from three schools.
In a release, Tim Koehler, principal, curriculum director, and professional development director at Beresford Middle School said that, “Teacher Compass helped to improve teaching quality by providing consistency across the district and individualizing training. Before Teacher Compass, each of the three principals in Beresford conducted classroom observations differently. Our teachers are becoming more effective because the feedback they get is so much better.”
He added, “Now we have stronger teaching, and that’s key to improving student performance. Videos are more effective than print materials in demonstrating best practice. And they are very popular with our teachers. When teachers see a demonstration, it gives them something to build on and match to their own situation.”
The Teacher Compass application enables school officials to accurately define teacher expectations, conduct observations, and provide feedback, thus offering an improved development plan for teachers. The collected data is then tied to an on-demand professional training program to customize learning experience for educators.
Stefan Kohler (News - Alert), Pearson School’s head of Educator Effectiveness and Professional Development stated, “Beresford has fully recognized the mobile capabilities of Teacher Compass to improve teaching and learning, meeting district goals and needs. They’ve reduced time spent on the administrative functions of teacher evaluation and can now spend more time on what matters, providing quality, personalized feedback that brings each teacher along a path to success.”
Teacher Compass includes three main components - Observe, for conducting evaluations; PD, which includes access to videos and other training material; and Principal, for leadership development of school principals. With this tool, the school administrators can travel with iPads preloaded with the program when making classroom visits. Explanations, practical tips, and district guidelines for best practice are also integrated into the iPad devices.
These flexible and mobile characteristics enable smooth observation and assessment of a teacher’s performance to enhance effectiveness. The Teacher Compass’ online library has more than 5,000 professional development videos too.
Edited by Jennifer Russell
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