The TalentEd Suite is made of up of three products: Recruit & Hire, Perform and Records. Each one of these products can be used alone or integrated together.
Recruit & Hire is a tool that helps districts recruit and interview candidates for jobs available within the district. The platform allows districts to create a stand alone recruitment website with a job board where applicants can go to directly apply for jobs. Principals can log onto the platform to search for qualified applicants, schedule interviews and rate candidates after interviews. All candidate application information is stored on the platform.
Perform is a tool that helps districts manage annual teacher performance evaluations. Each district selects the professional teaching standards it would like to use, and aligns its digital observation forms to those standards. Principals can schedule observations, record observations and submit final performance evaluations for teachers at the end of the year through the platform.
Records is a tool that helps districts manage Human Resources. Records keeps track of official documents such as contracts and W-4s, as well as non-official documents like employee handbooks and benefit information. Checklists can be created, files can be saved and reminder emails sent for new employee onboarding and sending out contracts.
Workflows, approvals and forms can all be configured for each tool in the TalentEd Suite. In addition, standard reports and custom reports can be run on data captured in the system so districts can monitor employees’ progress on required tasks such as bi-monthly observations and onboarding documentation.
Recruit & Hire
- Create a recruitment homepage with a job board
- Create custom job applications with required information
- Create and save filtered searches to help hiring managers organize and prioritize large volumes of applications
- Create one folder for each applicant with all application materials including integrated background checks, screening results, and the applicant’s history with the district
- Schedule interviews and send automated email communication to applicants and references
- Create custom reports
- Create custom digital observation and evaluation forms (including walkthroughs)
- Schedule observations
- Create custom formulas for cumulative performance scores that include weighted percentages from various data sources
- Save and file district-wide documentation
- Scan documents in bulk and sign them electronically
- Assign checklists, due dates, and reminders for required documentation and process steps
Recruit & Hire has an interface that makes it easy to use and to navigate. Most of the actions a user can take are clearly displayed and supported with a graphic. The tool mimics a paper-based recruiting or interviewing system by using folders with tabs and highlights. Highlights are like PDF annotations; users click on one of four colors and “highlight” an application they want to remember. All highlights are saved locally.
In addition to the interface, the tools for managing the review process for a high volume of applications are customizable. Specifically, it allows job seekers and administrators to create and save filtered searches, configure the data that appear for each application in the search results, and use color to personally annotate or highlight individual applications in a list.
Lastly, Recruit & Hire enables hiring managers to schedule interviews for multiple candidates at once, as well as offer multiple meeting times so applicants can choose the time that works best for them, decreasing the back-and-forth communication. In addition, automated email communications can be sent including surveys to candidates’ references. A slew of other tools (including Google Analytics) such as screening tools and HR management tools can be integrated to build efficiency.
Types of Schools Using It
- Public and charter school districts with a concentration in the midwestern US
How It Works
Recruit & Hire
Recruit & Hire is a tool use for recruiting and interviewing potential candidates for any job opportunity that is available in a district. The tool can be configured to fit each district’s needs. The district’s site administrator (usually an employee in the human resources department) is initially trained by Netchemia so that he or she can configure the tool on an ongoing basis for the district. This site administrator can configure the district’s workflows and approvals, forms and applications, and the recruitment homepage.
To get started, the district can either upload an Excel file with a list of employee usernames or enter usernames manually.
District administrators define the steps they want to put in place for each action such as publishing a job opportunity or offering a candidate a contract. Then they decide who will have the right to approve each action.
Districts can create their own custom forms (or select pre-created forms) in Recruit & Hire to help standardize processes like requesting a job to be published, rating a candidate, and soliciting feedback from references. Forms in Recruit & Hire look similar to Google Forms and SurveyMonkey. They can have text boxes, drop down menus, fill-in-the-blanks and fields with required information.
Forms for requesting a job to be published (i.e. “Job Requisition”) are usually the same form used for actually publishing the job; the difference is in the district’s workflow. These forms include public and private information. The public information includes information like the actual job description (which can be selected from a bank of saved job descriptions uploaded by HR). The private information includes information such as the name of the departing employee and the budget code the funding should be pulled from.
In addition, districts can create two different types of forms as rubrics for rating candidates; one to screen applicants (i.e. initial phone screening or application review), and one for an in-person interview rubric (i.e. completed after the final interview).
Interview rubrics generally have a few prompts (i.e. “Professionalism,” “Organization”) with adjacent drop down menus (i.e. 1-4 ratings) and text boxes for additional comments. According to Netchemia, most districts use their default 1-4 rating scale although the scale can be configured to fit the district’s needs. An overall score and hiring recommendation can be added to the bottom of the form through a drop down menu. Screening rubrics are more informal and consist of a text box with drop down menu for rating. An overall score cannot be added to a screening form.
Lastly, districts can create a form for soliciting feedback about candidates from their references. This form consists of a series of questions (i.e. “How likely are you to hire this person again?”) and drop down menus for responses (i.e. “very likely,” “likely,” “unlikely” etc.). If the district chooses, Recruit & Hire can send an automated email with a link to this form to a candidate's references. The responses are saved in the candidate’s application folder under the “References” tab.
In addition to custom forms, districts can create custom job applications that can integrate data from external screening tools and background checks. Human resource managers usually create these application templates; they can create as many as they want as long as there is only one template that is used per job posting (i.e. 2nd grade teacher template). Most applications include relevant personal and professional information, a uploaded resume and cover letter, and references.
If a district also uses a screening tool (i.e. TeacherInsight, Wunderlic) or background check tool (i.e. Universal Background Screening, One Source), the district can work with Netchemia to add this step into the application workflow and integrate the data for no additional fee. The applicant will either be prompted to click on a link to go to the external tool, or the external tool will be embedded in the application.
Each district can also configure its recruitment homepage. The recruitment homepage includes a job board with a list of all of the current job opportunities available within the district. The link to this page is often found on the district’s main website and the logo and colors can be matched so the two sites look similar.
If a district chooses, the district can work with Netchemia to embed Google Analytics into their recruitment homepage. This allows districts to capture data on things like where potential applicants most frequently click on their site, or how often potential applicants actually apply for a job.
Lastly, districts can create custom email templates that are automatically sent to applicants at various times throughout the process (i.e. Thanks for applying! We’re reviewing your application.).
When a principal logs into Recruit & Hire the first thing he or she sees is a homepage with a grid of possible actions he or she can take. If the principal has a job vacancy that needs to be posted, the principal can click on the link “Requisitions” right from the homepage. After clicking the link, the principal can select the type of job request form he or she needs to fill out such as “teacher” or “administrative assistant.” (These forms are created by the district and a portion of the information can auto-populate.)
The principal fills out the fields on the form including any public information such as the job description, and private information like the budget codes, and then clicks submit. If the principal has permission to publish job openings, clicking submit will publish the job opportunity to the district’s job board on their recruitment homepage. If an approval process is in place, the job opening will only be published after it has been approved (most likely by a human resource manager).
Once the job opportunity is published, interested applicants can apply. To apply for a job, an applicant first goes to the district’s main website and clicks on the link that says “Jobs” or “Careers.” This link takes the applicant to the district’s Recruit & Hire homepage. The applicant can browse through the district’s current job opportunities. When the applicant finds a job of interest, he or she clicks “Apply” and then creates a username and password.
The applicant enters his or her information, following the steps in the application process that were set up by the district. If the applicant has applied for a job within another district that uses Recruit & Hire using the same username and password, the system can merge their information if there are common fields.
If a screening tool or background check is included as a step, the applicant clicks on the link to the external tool, completes the task, and returns to their application. When the application is complete he or she submits it and can monitor the status of it by returning to the site and logging in.
As applications are submitted, principals use the Recruit & Hire application management tools to help them sift through the stacks of applications. Principals can manage the volume of applications by creating a variety of filters and views, as well as flagging individual applications.
When a principal logs in to Recruit & Hire he or she can see applications by clicking on “Application Management” on the homepage, or by clicking on the tab “Dashboard”. The principal’s dashboard highlights relevant information such as his or her upcoming interviews and active job postings. It also lists any action steps the principal might need to do such as reviewing a potential hire’s profile or completing any tasks a colleague has sent to them (i.e. “Hey, what do you think of this application?”).
On the dashboard, under “Active Postings,” a principal can see a list of their current job postings, the number of applications received for each one, and a link to the application manager. When the principal clicks on the link, he or she will be taken to a filtered search in the application manager that only displays the applications for that specific job.
In the application manager, principals can create a variety of filters, save them, and share them with others.
In addition to search filters, principals can also create custom views for looking at application data in the search results. Only the data the principal wants to see for each application is displayed in the line-item. For example, a principal could create a custom view, or lens, called “First Pass” that only displays the following data for each application in the search results: name, years of experience, and certification.
In addition to filters and views, principals can use colors to highlight individual applications when they’re reviewing. There are four colors available: yellow, red, blue, and green. The colors are not labeled or identified with any specific quality or characteristic; principals decide what each color means to them. (Highlights are saved locally and cannot be shared across accounts.)
When a principal clicks on one of the four highlighted tabs in the application manager, the principal sees only the applications he or she has associated with that specific color. This serves as a grouping mechanism and is useful for bulk action. For example, a principal might highlight all of the applications that he or she is interested in moving forward with green. When the principal clicks on the green highlight tab, all of these applications will be listed in one place. The principal can then click the select-all box and choose from several bulk actions including print, email, interview, or send reference check survey.
From the application manager, a principal can click on an applicant’s folder to view their full profile which includes their individual application and their history with the district. The principal can view the individual job application including all of the information the candidate entered and any additional documents the candidate was required to send to the district by email (i.e. fingerprint form). The principal can also see their reference information and survey results, background check results, and any screening results. In addition, the principal can see historic information about the applicant including past applications, interviews, ratings (and comments) and references.
If there’s something internal the principal needs, he or she can click on the tab “Tasks” and send a quick note to another user in the system. This could be anything from a reminder to HR to do a background check or an email to another principal or teacher who has worked with the applicant to ask for his or her opinion. A principal could use Tasks to send an email to a teacher requesting the teacher to schedule an interview with the candidate and review them. Tasks are associated with an applicant and appear as action items on a principal’s dashboard.
After reviewing an application, the principal can schedule an interview with the candidate by clicking on “Schedule Interview” inside the “Interview” tab of the candidate's profile. An overlay appears with several options for scheduling.
The principal can schedule the interview for a specific date and time or provide several dates and times and let the candidate choose one that works. If the principal chooses the former, he or she selects a date, a start time, an end time and saves it. A calendar invite is automatically emailed to the candidate. Recruit & Hire can integrate with Microsoft Outlook and Gmail.
If the principal wants to provide choices for the candidate, the principal enters several dates and times, and the proposed length of the meeting (i.e. 30 minutes). When the principal saves and submits, a calendar invitation is sent the candidate. When the candidate selects a time, it is saved on the principal’s calendar. If the invitation was sent to multiple candidates, selection is on a first come, first serve bases.
After the interview, the principal rates the candidate using the form created by the district (i.e. “Interview Survey”). An overall score and a recommendation (i.e. “No Hire”) is included at the bottom of the form and the results are added to the candidates profile on the “Interview” tab under “Results.” Automated emails created by HR can be triggered based on the recommendation so that the candidate is immediately notified of their status.
If the principal wants to hire a candidate, he or she goes to the candidate's profile and clicks on “Begin Hire” to open the form.
The approval process for hiring depends on the district. In some districts, if a principal wants to hire a teacher the request to hire form is sent through several chains of command before it is finally approved by a board member. In other districts, the principal can send the request to hire directly to HR for approval.
If the district also uses Records, a box can be checked on the request to hire form to integrate the new hire’s information into Records. Records handles documentation such as official contracts, W-4s, and all other HR onboarding paperwork. While new hires typically receive their official employment contract in person from HR, this can be handled electronically through Records.
While Recruit & Hire helps districts evaluate candidates before they are hired, TalentEd Perform helps districts evaluate employees after they’ve been hired.
Standards, Workflows & Forms
To get started, districts identify the set of professional teaching standards they would like to use. Standards for teaching can be created by the district or state, or can be integrated from another source such as Thoughtful Classroom. Some teaching standards, however, have proprietary rights and cannot be integrated (i.e. Danielson, Marzano etc.).
Next, district administrators configure their workflows or steps in the evaluation process for the academic year. These administrators determine the sequence of steps they want to require, the due dates, and the approval processes for each step.
Different workflows can be required for different groups of teachers based on their years of experience or phases of their career. For example, a new teacher might be required to have two formal observations in the fall and two more in the spring; a teacher with 10+ years of experience might be required to have one formal observation in the fall and one in the spring. Usually someone in HR associates each teacher in the district with the appropriate evaluation process.
After a district has identified their standards and outlined their workflows, administrators work with Netchemia to build observation and evaluation forms. Forms can be created for any purpose and saved as one of these categories: evaluation, evaluation rebuttal, observation, lesson preview, dismissal, action plan, and walkthrough.
- Evaluation forms are for cumulative evaluations and disputing a performance review.
- Observation forms are for formal observations and informal walkthroughs.
- Action plan forms are for documenting a performance improvement plan or yearly goals.
- Dismissal forms are for recommending a contract be terminated.
Creating forms is a manual process that is similar to building an individual Google Form or a survey in Survey Monkey. Forms can have text boxes, checklists, drop down menus and scales for rating. Administrators determine the rubrics, the scales and the layout; they also define the formula, weighting, and descriptors that will be used for teachers’ cumulative performance rating.
When a principal wants to perform a teacher observation he or she logs in and clicks on the “Evaluation” tab to search for teachers’ names. Principals can only search for information on teachers they’re authorized to see. (These settings are determined by the district.)
Principals can search for an individual teacher by typing the teacher’s name into the search field. The current status of the teacher’s evaluation process (i.e. 3 out of 9 steps) is shown as well as a link to the teacher’s profile and folder where past performances evaluations are stored.
In addition, principals can use several drop-down filters to see groups of teachers. Filters include job type, school year, and evaluation process. For example, a principal might filter the results by choosing “New Teacher Evaluation Process” to see a list of his or her teachers associated with this evaluation process to get a quick sense of the observation work remaining.
Lastly, district administrators with appropriate permissions, such as a regional superintendent, can use this search feature to monitor their principals’ progress and to get a sense of how their teachers are doing. District administrators can filter the search results by who is “responsible” for completing the evaluations (i.e. principal) to get a quick sense of how many observations principals have conducted at each school.
When the principal finds a teacher he or she wants to observe, the principal selects “view” next to the teacher’s name to see their profile. The steps in the current evaluation process for the specific teacher appear in a sequenced list. Steps that are required by the district are identified with a red asterisk.
From the teacher’s profile, the principal can get an overview of the tasks that have been completed and the tasks that still need to be completed for the teacher’s annual evaluation process. In addition, the principal can schedule observations, review observation forms, and mark tasks complete. The principal can also add new tasks to the process and complete walkthroughs.
To schedule a formal observation with the teacher, the principal selects the “schedule” button, which is in line with the next step in the process. An overlay appears where the principal can enter his or her desired date and time and choose whether the teacher has the ability to respond to the invite or not (i.e. accept, decline, no response). If the principal wants to schedule an unannounced observation, he or she selects “no response.” The calendar invite will only be added to the principal’s calendar.
When the principal saves an announced appointment, an invitation is sent to the teacher via email. The teacher can accept or decline the invitation. If the teacher declines, the administrator gets a notice in Perform prompting him or her to reschedule. Calendar appointments appear on the principal and teacher’s calendars. Perform integrates with both Microsoft Outlook and Gmail.
When the observation begins, the principal selects the appropriate form from the teacher’s profile to use to record his or her notes. Notes and comments can be entered into a text box for each standard. The principal rates the teacher’s performance on each standard on a scale (that can be numbers or words). The description for each rating can be seen by rolling over the rubric row.
When the observation is complete, the principal can add attachments, save and submit the form, or share it with the teacher. Sharing the form with the teacher before submitting it allows the teacher to provide comments in a text box on the form before the evaluation becomes final. Often times this occurs during a post observation conference between the teacher and the principal.
After a principal submits a final observation or evaluation form, the teacher receives an email notification that a form needs to be signed. (Most districts require these two types of forms to have official signatures.) The teacher logs into Perform, opens the form, and clicks on the “Signature” link to electronically sign and date the document. A text box is available for teachers to add any final comments they want to include. When the teacher clicks submit, the document is saved. The principal can mark the step as complete.
If the principal would like to perform an informal walkthrough in addition to a formal observation, the principal simply clicks on the “Walkthrough” link from the teacher’s profile. Informal walkthroughs cannot be officially scheduled.
Walkthrough forms are generally checklists. The items listed are actions and behaviors, for example, “Student disruptions are addressed.” The items are aligned to teaching standards such as “Classroom Management.” When a principal performs a walkthrough, he or she records the teacher’s name, date, time, and checks off the items he or she observes.
The walkthrough form can be shared, saved, submitted and signed just like the formal observation forms (depending on the district’s preferences). Attachments can also be added. Walkthroughs are stored in a teacher’s profile and are independent of the formal evaluation process unless the district has determined otherwise.
If the need arises, a principal can ask a teacher to fill out an action plan form. Action plan forms are generally used as performance improvement plans. In addition to the form, the district can also determine a performance improvement threshold based on observation data.
At the end of the year, when all of the observations are finished, the principal completes a cumulative performance evaluation for each teacher. The district determines the formula for rating teachers, including the type of data that will be included and how each data source will be weighted. This can include data such as student perception surveys and achievement data that can be uploaded via CSV.
The principal completes the forms and sends it to the teacher to electronically sign it. The teacher can add a few last comments before signing the form. The principal marks the annual evaluation as complete and it is stored in the teacher’s folder with their other annual evaluations.
Inter Rater Reliability (additional feature for the TalentEd Suite)
Inter Rater Reliability is a feature that can be added to a district's Perform account if they have purchased the entire TalentEd Suite: Recruit & Hire, Perform, and Records. This tool allows principals to practice evaluating and scoring teaching in an effort to normalize their scoring process.
Principals login to TalentEd, click on the “Calibration” tab and watch a series of videos (i.e. integrated from The BERC Group). The videos display a variety of teacher practices at multiple performance levels. The principals watch the video then fill out a form and provide a rating. District administrators can run reports to see how closely principals are rating each video to the correct rating (which is determined by the district ahead of time).
TalentEd Records can be used alone or integrated with TalentEd Recruit & Hire and TalentEd Perform. Records is used for managing official documents such as employment contracts, I-9s, W-4s, and forms associated with things like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Districts use it to digitize and synchronize their document management process.
Documents can be scanned in bulk and signed electronically. They can be searched for and filed. Checklists can be made, due dates can be set, and reminders can be sent to district employees. Reports can be run and expiration warnings can be set.
How It Is Used
Livingston Parish Public Schools (LPPS) in Louisiana adopted TalentEd Perform in 2012. LPPS has close to 26,000 students and 3,000 employees. One of the reasons for the adoption was a response to a state law requiring that teacher evaluation data be submitted electronically to the Louisiana Department of Education.
New Prague Area Schools in Minnesota uses TalentEd Perform to standardize their evaluation process across the seven schools in the district. New Prague was looking for ways to become more efficient with their evaluation process by streamlining scheduling, organizing materials, and tracking data. The district runs reports to compare performance across the district in order to plan for areas of need. New Prague also uses TalentEd Recruit & Hire.
Other districts using TalentEd products include Kansas City Public Schools, Tulsa Public Schools, San Antonio Independent Public Schools, Lincoln Public Schools, Quakertown Community School District, and Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Data & Report
In Recruit & Hire, external applicants can save their information in the system by creating a username and password, and their information can be merged between applications. The applicant’s history with the district can also be saved. All applications, interviews, ratings, and supporting materials are stored in their profile for any interactions they have had across the district.
In addition, districts can embed Google Analytics into their Recruit & Hire homepage. This integration allows districts to capture data on where potential applicants most frequently click on their site and how often visitors actually apply for a job.
Principals and district administrators can run reports in Recruit & Hire on basically any data that is collected in the system. For example, reports can be run on applicant characteristics by job category, the type of application and more. Administrators can use standard pre-created reports or can create their own. Reports can be saved to Excel.
In Perform, principals can add external data to cumulative evaluation forms. However, the data needs to be uploaded in a CSV file and then manually converted to a 1-5 rating scale. Other types of data like student survey results can be added in this same way.
Principals and district administrators can run standard and custom reports to get a sense of teacher strengths and weaknesses in the school or district. One report that can be run is on teachers’ performance on specific standards over time. In addition to an Excel spreadsheet, the data from this report is also displayed in Perform as a bar graph.
The principal selects the date range he or she is interested in, and the specific observation or evaluation form for an individual teacher. All of the teacher’s performance ratings within the date range are counted for each standard. The distribution of scores is shown by color and represents the accurate percentage of the total. For example, on the standard “Using Data to Drive Instruction,” over the past five years, 10 teachers were rated a five, four teachers were rated a four, and one teacher was rated a zero.
Setup & Implementation
To get started Netchemia works with district administrators to help them define their workflows, approvals and forms. A Netchemia Implementation Manager (IM) often builds the forms for the district based on the district’s criteria (i.e. professional standards, evaluation, etc.).
Netchemia uses a train-the-trainer model. Implementation Managers teach the district’s site administrator how to configure the district settings, as well as other necessary skills like how to create a form. The site administrator is usually someone in the human resources department and is responsible for customizing the tool for the district on an ongoing basis.
Set-up and implementation usually takes between 30 to 40 days. However, this timeframe can vary based upon the level of customization the district requests.
According to Netchemia, the most successful roll-outs occur when a change notification is provided to external and internal users and the product is the only one of its kind in use. Fade-in and fade-out implementation models that occur in tandem with other talent management products seem to be less successful.
TalentEd users have several options for support including a support portal with a bank of information that is in the product and the ability to chat with customer support representatives or call them directly.
If a user has a question, he or she can try to solve the problem themselves by clicking on the “Support” tab in the product. A text box appears where the user can type in the question. A list of relevant responses appears (i.e. help documents, FAQs, etc.). The user clicks on the entry that most closely matches their inquiry to find step-by-step instructions and in some cases how-to video.
Users can chat with customer support representatives, email them, or call them Monday through Friday, 7AM to 7PM CST.
In addition, many complementary tools for recruiting, interviewing, evaluating, and managing documentation can be integrated. Below is a list of tools that can currently be integrated with the suite.
Recruit & Hire
Human Resource Management Systems / Finance
Professional Learning Content
Districts can configure their workflows, approvals, and forms in TalentEd. A site administrator who can configure the system’s settings on an as needed basis is designated and trained. This can be anything from changing an approval process to deactivating automated emails to potential job candidates.
If there is an additional feature or product integration that a district wants, Netchemia will work with the district to create a custom offering for an additional fee.
Site licenses are available for all products, allowing districts to assign unlimited users for each tool.
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