An Exemplary Teacher in Every Classroom
How Blue Valley Schools upholds a stellar academic record.
Blue Valley Schools At a Glance:
Location: Overland Park, KS
K-12 Enrollment: 22,078
Certified staff: 1,848
Classified staff: 1,418
Demographics: 10% of Blue Valley students report a home language other than English and identify 70 different primary languages.
Although Blue Valley Schools experiences high levels of student achievement, the Board of Education challenged the district to meet two goals to improve student success even more.
- Ensure that there is an exemplary teacher in every classroom
- Focus on personalized student learning
– Chief Human Resources Officer Bob Kreifels
- Blue Valley students outperformed nearly every educational system in the world tested in math and science on the PISA exam, following only Shanghai, China. Blue Valley ranked first on the exam’s reading section with an average district score of 538.
- Blue Valley Schools was named to the College Board’s 7th Annual AP Honor Roll for increasing access to AP coursework while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams.
- Graduates of the class of 2016 recorded the top SAT score in district history and exceeded state and national averages.
- In a Customer Assessment survey, 91 percent of community members surveyed said they would give teachers in the district a grade of “A” or “B.”
- Multiple district employees have been recognized for their work:
- Jason Sickel — a vocal music teacher at Blue Valley North: 2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year
- Cathy Kerr — a district psychologist: 2016 Kansas School Psychologist of the Year
- Kristi Dixon — a high school counselor: 2016-2017 Kansas School Counselor of the Year
- Blue Valley Schools took first place on Niche Rankings’ “2017 Best Places to Teach in Kansas” list.
— Bob Kreifels
LEVERAGING ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS FROM FRONTLINE
Blue Valley Schools partners with Frontline to reach its goals through four main strategies.
1. Hiring people who fit the culture.
“I have been able to depict teacher qualities and characteristics that I want in my classrooms. I am thrilled with the hiring process, which makes the future for our students that much better.”
– Phoebe Lewis
Principal, Pleasant Ridge Middle School
2. Understanding absence trends.
As part of Blue Valley’s promise to have an exemplary educator in the classroom every day, administrators must carefully manage teacher absences. They use Frontline Absence & Time to track data and forecast trends, allowing administrators to place high quality substitutes where they can best support student learning.
“Frontline’s system is very helpful for us in knowing where we stand on a daily basis — how many teachers we are missing from our classroom, where our substitutes are. We’re able to identify patterns and better anticipate needs… It’s been a really great tool for us in terms of planning, preparation and making sure that learning continues to happen in our classrooms.”
– Bob Kreifels
Chief Human Resources Officer
3. Gauging teachers’ performance against district goals.
“Frontline Professional Growth has been extremely helpful for us in terms of helping us identify where we have strengths, where our teachers perform very well and how our teachers take advantage of professional learning opportunities. Then we can look back to see if there are areas that can be improved, and start planning more focused professional development opportunities. That ensures that our teachers have what they need to do for our kids in the classroom every day.”
– Bob Kreifels
4. Empowering leaders with insights and visibility.
With easily-accessible data from Frontline’s solutions, leaders in Blue Valley Schools are empowered to identify needs at the building, grade, subject and individual levels; explore how initiatives impact results over time and ensure alignment with district goals. These insights give Blue Valley leaders the clarity, focus and alignment they need to reach the goals set forth by the Board of Education.
“Connected systems help us have a broader view of who we are as a school district and how we interact and interrelate with each other. It brings our professional learning, our curriculum instruction and our hiring and recruiting processes together. Ultimately, all of those play a part in student achievement. Now, we have that data available and that data is connected. It provides a much richer conversation and ultimately leads to better instruction and better learning experiences for our kids.”
– Bob Kreifels
A NEW BRAND FOR HUMAN RESOURCES
Dedication. Collaboration. Innovation.
Providing Blue Valley students with the highest level of instruction possible means having an exemplary teacher in every classroom. To attract and retain this level of talent, the district developed a new brand for the Human Resources department and worked with principals to determine the qualities possessed by exemplary teachers. These conversations sparked a tagline (“Dedication. Collaboration. Innovation.”) that is now used in the district’s recruiting and interviewing process to identify better talent.
- DEDICATION: Exemplary teachers are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help each student succeed.
- COLLABORATION: Exemplary teachers collaborate and use data to personalize learning for each student.
- INNOVATION: Exemplary teachers use innovative instructional strategies, integrate technology and create learning environments that help meet the personal learning needs of each student.
Hiring, Engaging & Growing Great Teachers
As you can see, Blue Valley takes a holistic approach to ensuring an exemplary teacher is in every classroom for every child. Listen to our interview with Bob Kreifels, Chief Human Resources Officer, here.
Ready to Talk?