An Overview of IMPACT 

IMPACT is the evaluation system for the nearly 6,500 school-based personnel in the DC Public Schools.


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What Is IMPACT?

First introduced in 2009, the system is designed to help staff become more effective by:

  • Clarifying Expectations – IMPACT outlines clear performance expectations that are tailored to staff members’ specific job responsibilities.
  • Providing Feedback and Support – Quality feedback is a key element to the improvement process, which is why IMPACT provides staff members with multiple opportunities to engage in conversations with their managers about strengths and areas for growth. IMPACT also provides data that helps instructional coaches, mentors, and other support personnel be more effective in their work.
  • Retaining Great People – Having highly effective staff members in our schools helps everyone improve. IMPACT helps retain these individuals by providing significant recognition for outstanding performance.

How Does IMPACT Work?

IMPACT ratings for teachers are based on the following:

  1. Student Achievement – We believe that a teacher’s most important responsibility is to ensure that her or his students learn and grow. This is why we hold educators accountable for the growth their students make on our state assessment, the DC CAS, or on other assessments if they don’t teach a DC CAS grade or subject.

  2. Instructional Expertise – This is assessed through five observations – four formal and one informal – each year. Three observations are conducted by teachers’ administrators and two are conducted by independent, expert practitioners called master educators. Feedback and guidance for growth are provided in post-observation conferences and written reports.

  3. Collaboration – Education is very much a team effort, which is why IMPACT also measures the extent to which educators work together on behalf of students.

  4. Professionalism – Teachers are also held accountable for key professional requirements, including following all school policies and procedures, and interacting with colleagues, students, families, and community members in a respectful manner.

IMPACT ratings for other school-based staff are based on criteria specific to their jobs. For example, instructional coaches are evaluated based on how well they support teachers, while custodians are evaluated based on building maintenance and safety.

 

How Does IMPACT Provide Support?

IMPACT provides teachers with five feedback cycles over the course of the year. The system also generates a great deal of data to guide our professional development efforts. Among these efforts are:

  • Over 150 instructional coaches, who provide intensive, on-the-job support
  • Over 40 master educators, who provide content-based feedback and guidance for growth
  • A million video library highlighting the best practices of our top educators
  • New curricular resources to support our teachers with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards

What Are the Final IMPACT Ratings?

All staff members evaluated under IMPACT receive one of five final ratings: Highly Effective, Effective, Developing, Minimally Effective, or Ineffective.

  • Highly Effective: This rating signifies outstanding performance. Teachers who earn Highly Effective ratings are eligible to advance to the next Leadership Initiative For Teachers (LIFT) career stage, giving them access to a variety of leadership opportunities as well as increased recognition. In addition, these teachers are eligible for annual bonuses up to $5,000, and, at the Advanced, Distinguished, and Expert Teacher LIFT stages, base salary increases up to $7,000.

  • Effective: This rating signifies solid performance. Teachers who earn Effective ratings are also eligible to advance to the next Leadership Initiative For Teachers (LIFT) career stage (up to the Advanced Teacher stage), albeit at a slower pace than educators who earn Highly Effective ratings. These teachers will progress normally on their pay scales and will be eligible for base salary increases at the Advanced Teacher LIFT stage.

  • Developing: This rating signifies performance that is below expectations. DCPS will encourage principals and instructional coaches to prioritize these educators for professional development in an effort to help them improve their skills and increase student achievement. If, after three years of support, however, an educator is unable to move beyond the Developing level, she or he will be subject to separation. In addition, educators who earn Developing ratings will be held at their current salary step until they earn a rating of Effective or Highly Effective, and teachers will not advance on the LIFT career ladder.

  • Minimally Effective: This rating signifies performance that is significantly below expectations. As with Developing educators, DCPS will encourage principals and instructional coaches to prioritize these educators for professional development in an effort to help them improve their skills and increase student achievement. If, after two years of support, however, an educator is unable to move beyond the Minimally Effective level, she or he will be subject to separation. In addition, educators who earn Minimally Effective ratings will be held at their current salary step until they earn a rating of Effective or Highly Effective, and teachers will not advance on the LIFT career ladder.

  • Ineffective: This rating signifies unacceptable performance. Individuals who receive this rating for one year will be subject to separation from the school system.

How Does IMPACT Recognize and Reward Excellence?

In addition to providing support, we also believe that it is essential to demonstrate – in the boldest way possible – how much we value the work that our educators do. IMPACT allows us to do just this. 

For example, IMPACT enables us to honor our best educators with additional compensation, as well as with events such as the annual A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers gala at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; awards such as the Rubenstein Awards for Highly Effective Teaching; and opportunities such as invitations to serve in key district leadership roles.

Conclusion

This system is called IMPACT because we believe that the adults serving in our schools have the ability to make a dramatic, positive impact on our students’ lives. Ultimately, IMPACT was created to ensure that every student in every DCPS classroom has access to an outstanding education.

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