In Bergen County, New Jersey you will find the Metlife Stadium, NJ's biggest shopping mall (Westfield Garden State Mall), and some hometown rockstars at East Rutherford School District – known for their mission of committing to individual academic excellence. In 2016, East Rutherford SD began to consider the potential of switching staff evaluation platforms. The district was in search of a partnership with an EdTech provider that would meet their teacher observation requirements, facilitate administrator feedback to effectively build teacher practice, and ultimately give their K12 staff the tools they need to minimize paperwork and focus on what’s really important: the students.
The district decided to move forward with OnCourse Evaluate and SGO for the 2016-17 school year; a program that more than 132 school districts in New Jersey use for their AchieveNJ staff evaluation needs. Jessica Ballester, Director of Student Services at ERSD, explained that “East Rutherford switched to OnCourse Evaluate after already utilizing other OnCourse programs.” The district staff had started with the OnCourse Lesson Planner back in 2013; therefore, Ballester elaborated, “We were comfortable with the platform and the functionality of it.”
When asked directly about the benefits that this new program brings to the staff evaluation process at their district, Ballester remarked that, “The OnCourse Evaluate program has provided administrators with a better way to minimize time spent on completing observations due to the ease of using the program.“
“Evaluate is easy to navigate and utilize for both Administrators and Teachers.” Jessica Ballester
Furthermore, the Student Growth Objectives component of the program helped their teachers to personalize their goals with easily tiered target groups of students, auto-calculating of scores, and webinar/on-site training.
The transition from a program that no longer shared their vision, to a familiar full-featured platform with a customer-centered implementation plan resulted in a positive experience for the district. Ballester concludes, “The OnCourse teams [Sales, Project Management, and Support] have been extremely helpful, supportive, and provide ongoing assistance to our staff. Their help and follow-through has assisted in making the OnCourse Evaluate program a smooth transition for our district.”
By switching providers, they could use any rubric of their choosing; however, they decided to stick with a version of the Danielson rubric that they had become accustomed to over the years in OnCourse. Tagging evidence to the framework became easier, and they could keep teachers in the loop by scheduling pre and post conferences within the same interface.
If you’d like to know more about OnCourse Evaluate, then please watch the short video below.