For three years, teachers, principals and district administrators have been diving in to TPEP … the new system of teacher and principal professional growth and evaluation. During these three years, they have had access to the free online tool called eVAL that supports their efforts. But as the saying goes, “There’s an APP for that!”, and just recently, the eVAL app was released for iOS devices that supports this program. (The Android version is coming soon!)
The new app, which is a free download from the App Store, supports the collection of artifacts and observation data through learning walks, an emerging approach to professional growth where teachers and principals visit classrooms. After the classroom observation, they can compare their notes and scores, and then engage in a rich dialog and analysis about what they have observed.
While the app is powerful, it also came with a huge challenge. Like most apps, it came with no user guide. After a discussion with Dana Anderson, the Superintendent at ESD 113 and the statewide lead on the design and creation of the app, Debbie Tschirgi, ESD 112’s Director of Digital Learning, was selected to write the User’s Guide for the app.
“Technical writing is very rewarding,” shares Debbie, who has just completed the app’s user guide, “especially when you consider the number of educators in the state of Washington that will benefit from its use. As I write a user guide, I have to really learn the tool inside and out, and that is beneficial to me as well, because I will be providing professional development to teachers, principals and administrators on the use of the app.”
Debbie is no newcomer to technical writing. She has already written the user guide for Washington’s online eVAL tool. “That project emerged in an interesting way. I wrote it to help the districts in SW Washington learn to use the pioneer eVAL tool. But when Dana Anderson heard about it, he wanted to make it available to all educators in the state that are using eVAL. So while ESD 112 holds the copyright to the user guides, the state has paid for the license to distribute them freely to all districts who need them.”
Debbie just delivered her first professional development session on the use of the app this Monday out in White Salmon Valley School District with Superintendent Jerry Lewis and his principals. And she believes it was quite possibly the first professional development in the state on the app. “The app is so new, and the user guide is hot off the press! I’m proud that districts in SW Washington will be some of the first users of the app.”
Training on the use of the app is scheduled for more districts on Monday, October 19.