This year we have spent hours learning our new CT teacher evaluation system, and hours learning how to put up all the paperwork onto the new computerized system that collects all of our data called BloomBoard. The group that invested in BloomBoard is named Learn Capital. Learn Capital invests in businesses trying to make money from education. Learn Capital’s Managing Partner is Tom Vander Ark. He previously served as Director of Education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The largest limited partner in Learn Capital is Pearson.
Basically you have to upload all your “paperwork” up to Bloomboard for your pre-observation, observation, and post-observation. There is a series of questions you have to fill out, I uploaded all docs we used in the days leading up to the observation, all docs that we used on the day of the observation, and some that we would use after. I even uploaded videos that we watched in class and pics of the kids working. We have to upload our yearly student learning objectives, our data collection methods…you get the point, we upload a lot of stuff.
After our observation we are graded in all sorts of categories and those grades are entered into BloomBoard. BloomBoard takes that data and then tries to sell PD to you. Yep, I was wondering why BloomBoard is free, and there is the answer. I think someone said that every teacher starts off with $75 credit. When I clicked onto the PD resources they offer to improve my teaching I was surprised to see the companies that were offering the PD.
Most seemed to be large charter school companies. I somehow found that a bit ironic. It would not seem to fit into their business plan to have me be more successful.
There was Alliance Schools, Green Dot Schools, Aspire Schools, and PUC Schools. There are some other groups offering their services like Jossey Bass, who is owned by John Wliey, and even two from PBS. Looking through many of them, the PD from the charter schools seems to be free, the PD options from the other companies range from $15 to $345 (I did not look at every single resource offered).
I guess it is nothing to worry about. I just find it odd that charter school supporters, and charter school personal will be responsible for my professional growth. I guess they are ensuring that when they take over more public schools the teachers in those schools will be properly trained to carry out their missions.