Desert Vista High School students this week presented a near-complete application for teacher evaluations to be rolled out in the fall, a project more than a year in the making.

The Certified Teacher Evaluation app was designed and created by a group of about 10 students over the past year, according to Technology and Engineering Academy head and teacher Dan Zavaleta.

“It’s really cool, it allows the school to quickly and effectively evaluate teachers,” said Desert Vista senior Jackson Bullock. “I wish I could stay and do it again.”

Developed through the school’s mobile app development class, students wrote code, fixed errors and launched the app as developers through Apple’s app store. The class is only one of two high-school level courses in the country, Zavaleta said.

“This is a glimpse of what you’ll see in schools, and is applicable to real-life situations,” said Principal Dr. Anna Battle during the presentation this week at a district governing board meeting.

Taught by teacher Ron Kennedy, the course has about 60 students signed up for next school year.

“Our stuff is strictly real solutions to real issues,” Zavaleta said.

The app will allow district administrators and department chairs to complete teacher evaluations in a complete, electronic format. The app also calculates tabulations of teachers to determine if they are performing to standards.

“Instead of taking the time to write it on a piece of paper, now we can do it on the iPad. The app does everything we would normally do.”

This week, as he was finishing up his own teacher evaluations, Zavaleta said he noticed a 4-foot stack of papers on an administrator’s desk.

“This also goes along with our initiative in sustainability by being a big energy and paper saver,” he said.

Students will also be completing separate evaluation applications for classified employees like special education support staff, bookstore staff and principals. Another app will be created for guidance counselors as well.

Among creating technologies for their schools, teachers and district, one point of pride for the course, according to Zavaleta, is the fact that his students are learning work skills for the future.

In rewarding a couple of his graduating students with iPad minis, Kennedy said he’s confident in sending them off to be leaders in their fields.

“With these kids, America is going to be OK,” he said. “Because I had my concerns.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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