Camden is an urban district in New Jersey that serves over 6,000 students and employs over 700 educators that serve grades PreK-12. The Camden City School District is focused on improving traditional district schools and unifying educational options across the city so that no matter what choice a parent makes in Camden their child will experience a high-quality education.
When the Teach NJ Act was enacted in New Jersey in 2012, Camden needed a reliable and flexible way to comply with the specific requirements and structures for evaluation that links tenure decisions to evaluation outcomes. Nick Pillsbury, Ed.D. joined the staff as Senior Manager, Evaluation and Talent Data in 2014 to ensure that Camden had the tools and systems in place to align with the new ways in which teachers and principals were being evaluated.
After a thorough, comparative search by a focus group of teachers and school leaders, Camden selected TeachBoost and implemented it for the first time in the 2016-17 school year. Once implemented across the district, teachers shared, "It is very easy to use and we are able to plan for informal and formal observations. We can view documents and meeting notes while responding and communicating all in one place."
The 2020-21 school year brought about unprecedented challenges, requiring Camden's school leaders to rethink how their evaluation process and rubric functioned for a hybrid and remote school year.
Nick worked closely with the TeachBoost team to pivot the Danielson framework and the TeachBoost platform to meet their new needs and requirements, while maintaining state compliance. They revised the platform to include a more linear portfolio component that aligned with their remote working model.
For each two-week portfolio cycle, teachers collected their "portfolios of evidence" in TeachBoost. This allowed the school to optimize communications between school administrators and teachers and to stay on track with its teacher evaluations.
Camden has worked hard to build a system of workflows that enables educators and support staff at all levels—from central administrators, school leaders, instructional coaches, and classroom teachers—to be able to access and use the tools, data capabilities, and reports.
And the platform has proven to be so flexible that even the way virtual walkthroughs were conducted in alignment to Danielson was easily accommodated. TeachBoost has enabled:
Pillsbury shared that TeachBoost, even in unprecedented times, has allowed Camden leadership to keep pace with educational standards while staying focused on providing high quality educational experience for all students. To date, Camden has conducted over 67,000 observations. The TeachBoost platform supports their requirements for teaching and learning, creating proactive and systematic conversations for achieving their vision of instructional excellence.