Several years ago, Wheaton Academy, a private Christian high school in the western suburbs of Chicago, took a hard look at how teachers were being compensated. At the time it was the typical model of years of experience + education. Not unlike school districts across the nation, they came to realize this model was broken. So they began development of a new process based on teacher performance and student growth. The simple metrics of experience and education on the sideline, new methods had to be developed to accurately assess how well teachers were doing. The result of this effort is the Living Curriculum Teacher Development Model (LCTDM™), with its focus on classroom observations, student surveys, goal-setting, and collaboration to foster growth and provide a framework for compensation.
Though it started out a paper system, the process was converted to an online software application, Living Curriculum Online. This Web application is the Swiss Army knife of LCTDM™, giving administrators and teachers ready access to the tools to streamline and automate the process. The entire application was built to be completely customizable so that users can tailor the content to fit their school’s culture and goals.
The Living Curriculum Model breaks down the evaluations into two overarching domains, Teaching and Learning. Teaching focuses more on the skills of the teacher and Learning focuses more on the resulting effectiveness. Under those domains there are five categories each with their own set of individual criteria divided into four levels of performance. Each school can tailor the tool to fit its mission and philosophy of teaching and learning.
So what drives the actual scoring of the teacher for each of these criteria? It is driven by classroom observations, student surveys, a teacher’s goals and their written input, and the teacher’s self-evaluation. This high-touch method is what brings the heart and human side to what could be viewed as a calculated result.