The Washington Times-Herald

April 5, 2013

Local educator designs program

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Teacher evaluations are now the norm for school districts statewide. To facilitate it, the state was going to give administrators templates to fill in.

One local educator saw that was not going to work and with the help other educators, created a program to help, called Standard for Success.

"It comes in very handy in the teacher evaluation process," North Daviess Technology Coordinator and program co-founder Todd Whitlock said.

Standard for Success is a web-based program that allows principals and superintendents to evaluate their teachers with tools that goes wherever the administrator needs it.

Whitlock, in his role at North Daviess, started looking for programs to help teachers when the state legislature started changing the law last year.

Originally, the law called for word processing and spreadsheet templates to be given.

"It became very clear when I saw the documentation from the state, I knew it wasn't going to work," Whitlock said.

He said he looked around, and there wasn't any program out there that could have handled the mountain of paperwork that was going to be required in the evaluation process.

"I couldn't find one that I would recommend," Whitlock said. "With that, we sat down with other educators." And Standard for Success was born. How it works is a principal or superintendent sits down when he or she observes a class for an evaluation.

While observing, the administrator has a set of questions and standards he or she is looking for in that classroom. The administrator clicks on a certain question and answers whether the teacher has met that standard. It also gives room for the administrator to write feedback for the teacher.

"Anything you have that is web based, it works," Whitlock said. "Whatever the user feels comfortable with, whether it be a tablet, smartphone or laptop." The program, Whitlock said, is customizable, and can be changed to suit what schools are needing.

The Indiana Association of School Principals has endorsed the product and local schools are currently using it as they evaluate teachers this year.

Barr-Reeve, North Daviess, Loogootee and Vincennes Community schools are also using the Standard for Success platform. Statewide, about 60 school systems are using the evaluation program.

"I like it," North Daviess Elementary Principal Jodi Berry said.

"I like how we can just call up the standards we need and they are right there." And the buzz about Standard for Success is spreading, Whitlock said. School districts in Ohio, Virginia and Minnesota are interested in the platform.

"We are getting a lot of other states that is seeing what Indiana is doing," Whitlock said.

The success of the platform has surprised Whitlock and his collaborators, some who now work full time on the program.

"We have some good educators working for the company," Whitlock said.

"It's gratifying as an educator that we can help."