District 87 officials say the new teacher evaluation system is fully implemented. (Photo By B Corbin/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - District 87 officials said Wednesday the new teacher evaluation system is fully implemented and there have been very few complaints.
"Evaluators are evaluating teachers using the appraisal process and using the electronic forms," administrator Herschel Hannah said. "With the implementation there have been some bumps in the road and we're working that out."
Hannah gave the Board of Education an update on the process at Wednesday night's meeting.
He said some people are still having trouble transitioning to the new system, and there have been minor technical glitches with the online evaluation system, but otherwise the process has been fairly smooth.
He credits strong communication for the successful transition.
"At the start of the school year, we provided an overview for the principals to provide and share with their faculties," he said.
The state mandated a change to teacher evaluations in 2010. The model takes into account four performance categories, including planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibility.
The evaluations also take into account student growth, but training on that is not due until 2016.
In unrelated action Wednesday, the board got an update on the five-year facilities improvement plan from Colin Manahan, District 87's facilities management director.
He said there will be classroom renovations in a number of schools next summer, including Bloomington High School, and Bloomington Junior High, Irving, Oakland, and Stevenson.
The Sheridan media center will be renovated, the Sarah Raymond School roof will be replaced, and various gym lights will be replaced across the district.
Manahan said the video surveillance systems at BHS and BJHS are about 10 years old and will be upgraded as well.
The board also heard a presentation from members of Commerce Bank on alternative investments for the district's Medical Trust, John M. Scott Trust and District 87 Foundation.
Alternative investments could include hedge funds, commodities, real estate or even precious metals. The board's goal is to provide better potential yield with a reduced risk to investments.
The board approved updated language to the investment guidelines to allow for alternative investments.
Paul Morello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.