An isolated job, uneven distribution of expertise and experience, and career paths and compensation that are unconnected to results or contribution.
Teachers have the time and support for team collaboration and learning, they are strategically hired and assigned, and their career paths and compensation enable growth and reward contribution.
We can change the odds for teachers and students if school systems fundamentally restructure the teaching job, including how we hire, assign, support, evaluate, compensate, retain, and dismiss teachers. Schools need to organize differently to create time for teacher teams to collaborate and learn together, and opportunities for teacher leaders to share their expertise and improve teacher and student learning. Principals need support and flexibility to select, assign and help their teachers grow into the roles that help other teachers and students grow. Career path and compensation structures need revision to ensure that we attract and keep the best teachers over time.
See how DC Public Schools improved its evaluation and professional development systems to retain effective teachers and maintain high learning standards.
A 10-minute self-assessment tool that helps district leaders and others identify which of your strategies are likely to lead to student success—and where there are opportunities to improve.
Teachers need more support to meet the demands of college- and career-ready standards. Where can schools systems find the money, staff, and time to provide truly transformational professional learning?
All school and district leaders want to grow their new teachers into effective educators who stay at their schools - yet most feel constrained by limited budgets. But it is possible to provide new teachers the support they need, with the resources school systems have today
In a typical district, there are substantial resources invested in professional development. However, most PD tends to be based around one-off workshops, university classes, conferences, and online modules that are disconnected from real-life practice.
In a Strategic System, effective professional learning connects teacher development to daily practice through rigorous, comprehensive curricula and assessments; content-focused, expert-led collaboration; and frequent, growth-oriented feedback. Teacher teams develop and review lesson plans based in their specific curricula, and analyze student assessment results together. When teacher leaders observe their peers, they focus on the themes raised during collaborative time and provide real-time, actionable feedback. Instructional experts work across the elements, adapting curricular materials, leading collaborative planning, and observing and providing feedback to teachers.
In a typical district, a large proportion of teachers are hired in the month before school starts; some face a dwindling teacher applicant pool; others have not aligned hiring processes to recruit and select the best teachers early enough.
In a Strategic System, every time a school leader hires a new teacher, she evaluates what skills the school, position, and teaching team require, and hires strategically to meet those needs. The district supports schools by aligning hiring, budgeting, and enrollment projection processes; supporting principals as talent managers; and evaluating recruiting best practices. Systems also have policies that encourage highly effective teachers to go to highest-need schools.
In a typical district, evaluation is viewed as a punitive measure, aimed at finding and removing ineffective teachers. Teachers are reviewed based on a handful of classroom observations, augmented with the subjective assessment of a principal or supervisor.
In a Strategic System, accurate and trusted evaluations are the key to personalizing each teacher’s development, role, and career path. Performance measures allow systems to identify each teacher’s areas of strength, give them opportunities to extend their reach in that area, and compensate them accordingly. And in the rare cases teachers do not reach the district’s performance standards, they provide a fair and transparent way to both make sure teachers are given a chance to improve, and to make sure that teacher who do not improve, do not continue in the profession.
In a typical district, teacher salary structures treat all teachers equally, rewarding teachers for years of experience and course credits regardless of their performance or contribution. Yet research suggests that neither experience nor master’s degrees are strongly and consistently correlated with teaching effectiveness. Additionally, the base salary for many teachers discourages young people from entering the profession or working in the highest-need communities.
In a Strategic System, school system leaders work to improve the entire “value proposition” of the teaching job—including salary, benefits, working conditions, and opportunities for advancement. Leaders consider investing more in the areas where it is hardest to get and keep teachers: in the early career stages, in hard to staff subjects or high need schools, or to reward teachers for taking on greater leadership responsibilities.
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