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Case Study

Pursuing Growth While Making Evaluations More Efficient

How Arlington School District 38-1 uses the Employee Evaluation Management tools in Frontline Professional Growth to save time conducting evaluations and to structure conversations to support growth and development.

Arlington School District 38-1 Hero Image

District Background

Arlington School District is a K-12 district in Arlington, South Dakota. The mission of the Arlington School District is to educate all students in a safe, challenging, and disciplined environment and to provide each student the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be a productive citizen in an ever-changing society. The district consists of PK, K-6, 7-8, and 9-12 schools, all housed in one building.

Mrs. Lisa Parry serves as the Principal of the Arlington School with 277 K-12 students. As an experienced secondary educator, Mrs. Parry recognizes the importance of strong elementary level teachers to build a solid foundation for their learners. She is proud of the familial culture built on their campus and works collaboratively with the staff to ensure the best possible learning environment to move “good to great and great to greater.”

The Challenge

Before Mrs. Parry took on the role of Principal, teacher evaluations were handled with paper and pencil. With a few exceptions, Mrs. Parry’s expectation is to evaluate teachers in the K-12 building. Knowing the model and capabilities available through Employee Evaluation Management, a key part of Frontline Professional Growth, it felt like the natural next step to learn and implement Employee Evaluation Management to improve efficiency.

“I don’t know why people wouldn’t use Employee Evaluation Management. If you can click, you can use it.”

Mrs. Lisa Parry
– Principal, Arlington School District

The Solution

After attending a training with Frontline and the South Dakota DOE, Lisa worked with her team to brainstorm a democratic process in identifying the components they would measure and then began implementing the evaluation process

“I’m excited that Frontline allowed us to go through the Danielson domains, choose the ones that we wanted to hold ourselves accountable for, and now we can base our evaluations on those. The SLO (Student Learning Objective) is the same thing. We were able to decide what we wanted our SLOs to look like, within the confines of what the state requires of us, and then we can use Frontline to document our progress, to upload archives, or to upload examples of student work. It’s really nice to have one spot where all of this is found.”

In Arlington, evaluation is about pinpointing areas of excellence and identifying opportunities for growth, with Frontline as a tool to document the journey. The tools within Employee Evaluation Management allow Mrs. Parry to provide specificity and textual evidence and support in instruction. When building evaluations, Employee Evaluation Management allows Mrs. Parry to provide a meaningful, credible document to guide the conversation in supporting her teachers.

“Frontline really helps me connect with those teachers and share exactly what I’m going to be evaluating them using, and it provides us a communication tool. So when we sit down and visit together about the formal observation, we’ve got some shared language, some shared paperwork, and through the SLOs it really facilitates our communication as they work through all of the steps. I get notifications that they’re submitting things. I go in and I can look at that. And that always spurs some really good conversation between me and those teachers as I seek to know more.”

The Results

In addition to the benefits Frontline provides to coaching her staff, in the fall of 2022 Arlington underwent the arduous process of accreditation. Using Employee Evaluation Management for the accreditation process made the experience much easier.

“We just went through that this year and were once again fully accredited by the state of South Dakota, and Frontline made that easy. The state required evidence of SLOs, the state required evidence of teacher evaluations. I was able to go back online, pull what I needed to pull, and it made that part very simple. I think the accreditation process is pretty daunting, it can be quite challenging, and so I was grateful that Frontline made at least a couple parts of it much, much easier for me.”

Lisa and her team found the process to be a great opportunity to reflect on the aspects of teaching and learning in their building — to celebrate the successes but also identify relative shortcomings and create a plan to shore those up. Utilizing Frontline’s reporting features, Lisa and her team can acknowledge great performance as well as areas for growth as coaching opportunities.

“I can always find ways to find more resources, but I can’t get more time. The tools and customer service we receive allows me to be more efficient. If I reach out and ask, Frontline has always been responsive to help. Without that, I would have moved back to Google forms, but the team at Frontline has been excellent in supporting our success.”

Mrs. Lisa Parry
– Principal, Arlington School District