Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) is the largest school district in Indiana. It educates 31,000 students in 51 schools. Implementation of REAL: Rewarding Educators & Academic Leaders! helps FWCS improve classroom instruction in high-need, low-performing schools. The REAL project targets 48 high-need urban schools that serve 30,232 students in grades K through 12. Each participating school has a free or reduced- price lunch rate of 50 percent or higher. The project implements a new educator performance-based evaluation system that ties educator performance to student achievement. The FWCS System of Support, in combination with the Indiana Teacher and Principal Effectiveness Rubrics, is the foundation of FWCS’s performance-based compensation effectiveness rubrics. These rubrics are the foundation of the district’s performance-based compensation system. FWCS also distributes compensation incentives to eligible teachers and administrators who take on additional instructional and leadership roles designed to fulfill the goals of REAL.
FWCS implements the REAL project in order to meet the overall project goals of improving classroom instruction in high-need and low-performing schools and strengthening learning environments through effective academic leadership. FWCS has contracted with an independent evaluation firm to conduct a thorough assessment of all project services. Evaluators are using the research-based FORECAST model (FORmative Evaluation, Consultation, and System Techniques) to evaluate the REAL project.
The FORECAST model provides evaluators with feedback regarding the unique effects of specific program elements. Grant managers and evaluators are using REAL evaluation data to determine the success of individual initiatives as well as the overall impact of broader reform strategies.
- Hired project director
- Launched Administrators Academy--Summer
- Launched professional learning community for Quality Improvement Teams (QIT)--Summer
- Renegotiated regular teacher contract to accept teacher stipend and differentiated pay
- Paid stipend to teachers rated Highly Effective ($2,500)/Effective ($2,000) in November
- Put framework of human capital management system in place
- Launched targeted support plan for teachers rated Needs Improvement and Ineffective
- Participated in USDOE project directors convening
- Fully implemented both its Teacher Evaluation System and Principal Evaluation Systems
- Fully used the Teacher System of Support to provide individualized assistance and supports to improve teaching effectiveness and student achievement in FWCS classrooms
- Developed a human capital management framework around recruiting
- Grant personnel developed a plan to create a user's manual and video training modules for the FWCS Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Rubric
- Administrators sorted through serious disruptions in computerized, statewide 2013 ISTEP testing
- Made Year 1 performance-based payouts to teachers during the beginning of Year 2, due to the timing of receiving test data from the Indiana Department of Education
- Launched Crucial Conversations Cohort
- Refined the precision of teacher evaluations and rating calculations.
- Expanded the Inter-Rater Reliability cohort, adding new members to the committee to better support the sustainability of the training process
- Learning Forward worked closely with the Inter-Rater Reliability Committee to move toward calibration for the district
- Continued to support teachers who were a part of the first cohort of National Board of Certified Teachers and who are now in year two of the process
- Successfully negotiated a two-year contract that continues to include a reward system based on a teacher rating including student growth
- Also signed a commitment with Fort Wayne Education Association to continue during the contract period to design a system to recognize teacher professional growth
- The district continued to support teachers in the process of attaining National Board certification with the National Board of Certified Teachers.
- Collaboration with the Fort Wayne Education Association continued on a monthly basis, working toward finalizing a human capital management and compensation system.
- The district continued to refine and improve the teacher and principal evaluation system with an emphasis on transparency regarding teachers' and principals' ratings calculations.
- Professional Learning continued to focus on the Inter-Rater Reliability Committee, district administrators, principals and building-level coaches.
- FWCS paid out teacher stipends and salary increases.
- Focus on improved precision around classroom and building evaluations, teacher and principal rubrics and the reliability of observations
- Anticipate paying teacher stipends once the data for the payout calculation become available
- Plan to work closely with Westat and the Fort Wayne Education Association to collaborate on key components of TIF and the creation of a HCMS
- Focus on a teacher compensation model and rewarding teachers
FWCS paid Year 2 TIF funds totaling $4,711,237.30 to 1,714 Highly Effective and Effective FWCS teachers and 94 principals in November 2014, due to the timing of receiving test data from the Indiana Department of Education.