Writing Samples – Employee Profiles

Carolyn Karatzas Joins Professional Development Team (2007)

Carolyn Karatzas has seen tangible improvements in schools and classrooms as the result of effective assessment and informed use of the data. Working as a consultant for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and providing professional development relating to Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC), she has helped states and educators analyze survey data and turn statistics into action items.

“Change in classrooms starts with an honest examination of how much teachers know about their subject, of their expectations for the students, and their instructional strategies,” says Karatzas. “I show them what they can do with the survey or assessment results.”

As the newest member of the professional development team at Measured Progress, Karatzas will continue to do just that. “We want educators to understand and use assessment data. The programs offered by Measured Progress are very similar to the work I have done,” says Karatzas. “I am excited about working with a team ‘at home’ and will enjoy the support from like-minded people I can share my ideas with.”

Before turning her focus to professional development, Karatzas spent eight years teaching math at various grade levels, from pre-school to junior high, both in general and special education. Looking for new opportunities, she joined the University of New Hampshire IMPACT Center, taught university courses, and also delivered professional development programs to New Hampshire math teachers.

Karatzas learned about the SEC during a visit of the Center for Educational Research at the University of Wisconsin. The Center, in collaboration with state departments of education, CCSSO, and other partners, had just completed the development the survey tool and begun the process of building a support team.

For the past five years, Karatzas has provided professional development consulting services to CCSSO and introduced the SEC to teachers and administrators in many states. Her work has enabled both state agencies and individual teachers to truly evaluate the structure of curriculum and teaching methods, and to fill the gaps and repair misalignment.

“The survey facilitates dialogue,” says Karatzas. “Confidential, anonymous data allow teachers to engage in safe group discussions. I am always amazed to see the results of this reflective process. More things get resolved in a shorter amount of time.”

Many states not only base improvement plans on the survey results, but also use the data to hold schools accountable for plan implementation. “More and more stakeholders recognize the need for this type of data,” adds Karatzas, “and the need to honestly assess problems and find practical solutions that will improve our schools.”

Karatzas has formed solid relationships with the Ohio, Vermont, and New Hampshire Departments of Education through providing professional development based on the SEC. She has also helped the states to mentor teachers, develop content analysis of state standards and assessment, and create Grade Level Expectations.

Measured Progress and CCSSO are forming a partnership that allows Karatzas to continue her work with states and districts using the SEC. Beyond the survey, she will also conduct professional development programs about formative classroom assessment and using everyday assessment data. But most importantly, her expertise and enthusiasm will improve teaching and learning in American classrooms.