Public Impact is excited to announce that our Opportunity Culture initiative is partnering with the College Board and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) to reach rural school districts with excellent NCSSM teachers. In the first phase of this pilot, an excellent NCSSM teacher will become an Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leader for a team of pre-calculus teachers spread across rural North Carolina in the spring 2019 semester. The first phase will lay the groundwork to add more remotely located multi-classroom leaders from NCSSM and elsewhere.
Today’s Hechinger Report highlights Opportunity Culture in Edgecombe County Public Schools, a rural North Carolina district, noting its effects on:
- teacher recruitment (schools using this model have historically started the year with two to four empty teaching positions, but this year had none),
- “profound collaboration among teachers,”
- and strong student growth (North Edgecombe High School has exceeded growth expectations two years in a row and entered the top 20 percent of schools in the state on that measure).
Noting these “major accomplishments” in Edgecombe County, reporter Tara Garcia Mathewson quotes Erin Swanson, Edgecombe’s director of innovation, saying that Opportunity Culture could be transformational.
An Opportunity Culture extends the reach of excellent teaching—what about doing the same for excellent schoolwide leadership? Public Impact, which founded the national Opportunity Culture initiative, today releases a set of practical materials on Multi-School Leadership: How to extend the reach of excellent principals by having them lead a small group of schools, for more pay, funded within the budgets of their schools.
Multi-school leaders (MSLs) are excellent principals with a record of high-growth student learning who lead a small group of two to eight related or closely located schools. They lead a collaborative team of their schools’ principals while typically continuing to lead one school in the group directly.
The cornerstone of Multi-School Leadership is instructional leadership within each school by multi-classroom leaders. Together, these create a leadership career path with multiple levels, all focused on instructional excellence, frequent guidance and support for teachers and principals, and keeping great educators working directly with students.
These new roles also allow paid, full-time residencies for both aspiring teachers and principals—entirely within schools’ regular budgets. (Public Impact will be publishing more on residencies in the near future.)
New Multi-School Leadership Materials
More: Look for selection guidance, tools for managing multiple schools, and more—coming soon!
Benefits of Multi-School Leadership
- Reach more teachers and their students with excellent leadership
- Let outstanding principals advance with higher pay, while continuing to lead instructional excellence
- Help all principals and teachers continuously improve their leadership and instruction
- Retain principals longer by helping them handle the job well and succeed with students
- Build a strong pipeline of excellent instructional leaders, with a career path for development
How Do Multi-School Leaders Lead?
- Lead their team of school principals to review data for each school and for the schools overall to identify the best approaches to achieve student success.
- Guide each school’s top instructional leader in key elements of instructional and administrative leadership.
- Observe and give feedback, coach, and lead performance data analysis and problem-solving throughout the multi-school team.
- Rotate working in person in the schools they lead, connecting personally with teachers, staff, and families.
- Take accountability for student learning, teacher satisfaction, and other outcomes in all schools led. Multi-school leaders earn supplements above principal pay, typically 10 to 40 percent, depending on spans and budgets. All pay supplements are funded within the total budgets of the schools in the group.
The Foundation: Multi-Classroom Leadership
- Are teacher-leaders with a track record of high-growth student learning and leadership qualities.
- Lead a small grade or subject team: co-planning, coaching, co-teaching, and modeling instruction and data analysis for and with the team.
- Continue to teach part of the time, often by leading small-group instruction.
- Work with other multi-classroom leaders as a team to help principals lead instruction, behavior policies, and other critical activities affecting learning in each school.
- Take accountability for student learning, teacher satisfaction, and other outcomes in all classrooms led.
Because multi-classroom leaders co-lead instruction schoolwide, other changes in schoolwide leadership roles to allow multi-school leadership become possible. Research indicates that multi-classroom leadership helps teams of teachers produce substantially higher student learning growth than in typical schools, forming a strong foundation for adding multi-school leadership, too.
Opportunity Culture now includes more than 20 districts in nine states. See the Opportunity Culture Dashboard for more details.
What’s new with Opportunity Culture? Recent news coverage highlights the growth and successes of Opportunity Culture, an initiative of Public Impact:
Guilford school board wants flexibility to help 9 low-performing schools: Jessie Pounds of the News & Record reported on the expansion of Opportunity Culture into nine schools in Greensboro, N.C., with the district planning for more. “I am really grateful that we have taken a very significant step in hopefully providing much needed support and resources,” said Guilford County Schools board member Byron Gladden.
How long should teachers work before receiving tenure? In a discussion of tenure in California, Education Dive reporter Amelia Harper notes the need to develop teachers as leaders: “Administrators can use professional development to develop teacher leaders or can work with organizations, such as Public Impact to implement models in which teachers oversee and support teachers in multiple classrooms. By doing so, they can help make more of their teachers tenure-worthy, whether they receive tenure in their state or not.”
3 Vance schools set to launch Opportunity Culture initiatives: Miles Bates of the Henderson (N.C.) Daily Dispatch reports on the expansion of Opportunity Culture schools in the Vance County Schools District. “It will provide us with the opportunity to expose excellence in teaching to all of our children and will be great support for our teachers,” said Principal Marylaura McKoon. “It really is a win-win situation. It will do good things for our school.”
Teachers kept quitting this Indianapolis school. Here’s how the principal got them to stay: Chalkbeat reporter Dylan Peers McCoy reported on the exciting news that after years of high turnover, Opportunity Culture was making a difference in teacher retention at Lew Wallace Elementary. When he surveyed his students this year, Principal Jeremy Baugh said, 97 percent said they planned to return next year. Read about what the team teachers and multi-classroom leaders say about the support they received. “I can’t even imagine doing it without Jessica,” first-year teacher Abby Campbell said about her multi-classroom leader, Jessica Smith. “I would’ve been a hot mess.” Education Dive noted the results as well.
Under Superintendent Sharon Contreras, Guilford County Schools, based in Greensboro, N.C., has joined the national Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within schools’ recurring budgets.
Researchers at the Brookings Institution and American Institutes for Research released a study in January showing the effect Opportunity Culture can have: Teachers who were on average at the 50th percentile in student learning gains, and who then joined teams led by multi-classroom leaders, produced learning gains equivalent to those of teachers from the 75th to 85th percentile in math, and, in six of the seven statistical models, from 66th to 72nd percentile in reading.
Opportunity Culture, founded and led by Public Impact of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, N.C., now includes more than 20 districts in nine states, including five in North Carolina. Guilford will be the second of North Carolina’s five largest districts to join. See the Opportunity Culture Dashboard for more details about the initiative, which has grown to more than 225 schools since implementation began in seven schools in 2013.
Contreras was also the superintendent in Syracuse, N.Y., when she took the unprecedented step of becoming the first collective bargaining Opportunity Culture district in 2014–15, only the third district in the initiative’s pilot phase.
Quick Stats from the Opportunity Culture Dashboard, updated for 2017-18:
- 225+ schools committed to Opportunity Culture
- 1,450+ teachers with advanced roles or on-the-job development
- 41,000+ students reached by excellent teachers extending their reach
- $3.3 million in extra pay for teachers in 2017–18; $10 million since Opportunity Culture was implemented in the first schools five years ago
- 22 Opportunity Culture sites in 9 states—and growing
- Strong educator support: 97% of surveyed multi-classroom leaders (MCLs) and 81% of all school staff involved in OC want Opportunity Culture to continue in their schools
- High growth by MCL-led team teachers: Math gains rose from 50th percentile of teachers to 75th–85th, reading from 50th percentile of teachers to 66th–72nd
Public Impact, which created and leads the national Opportunity Culture initiative, updates the Opportunity Culture dashboard annually.
- Schools—Opportunity Culture now has 228 schools committed; OC grew from 7 schools implementing in 2013–14 to 111 schools in 2017–18. Forty-six more schools have begun designing (planning for implementation) for 2018–19, and states and districts have committed to launch Opportunity Culture in an additional 71 schools in the next few years. Schools, cities, and states continue to join Opportunity Culture throughout each year.
- Sites—9 states now have a total of 22 Opportunity Culture sites covering a range of urban, suburban, and rural schools.
- Students—More than 41,000 students were reached by one or more Opportunity Culture teachers. Nothing matters more for students than getting excellent teaching consistently: Excellent teachers help students learn more, and, as multi-classroom leaders, they can help other teachers produce higher-growth student learning, too. Research also says that teachers producing high growth develop students’ higher-order thinking skills.
- Teaching Roles—There were 331 teachers in advanced roles and 1,135 teachers receiving on-the-job development on teacher-led teams. Advanced Opportunity Culture roles are reserved for teachers with a track record of high-growth student learning. Team teacher roles are held by teachers with a typical range of prior effectiveness. Schools designing Opportunity Culture before 2017–18 used a variety of roles to extend teachers’ reach. Schools designing in 2017–18 and after will all use Multi-Classroom Leadership, embedding other roles within MCLs’ small teams.
- Teacher Surveys—In anonymous surveys, 97 percent of multi-classroom leaders and 81 percent of all school staff involved in OC want Opportunity Culture to continue in their schools. 94 percent of MCLs also reported a positive impact on staff collaboration and student achievement; 96 percent agreed that they have new leadership opportunities; and 95 percent agreed they have better pay opportunities and the chance to reach more students. And 96 percent of MCLs and 89 percent of all OC teachers agree that they receive feedback that can help them improve teaching.
- Pay—$3.3 million was reallocated to higher teacher pay in 2017–18; $10 million has been reallocated since OC began in 2013. The highest pay supplement was $23,000 (for MCLs). The average MCL supplement was $12,247, or 21 percent of the average teacher salary in the U.S. OC supplements for all teachers ranged from $1,500 to $23,000.
- Student Results—A study from the American Institutes for Research and the Brookings Institution showed that students in classrooms of team teachers led by MCLs showed sizeable academic gains. The team teachers in the study were, on average, at the 50th percentile in the student learning gains they produced before joining a team led by an MCL. After joining the teams, they produced learning gains equivalent to those of teachers in the top quartile in math and nearly that in reading.
See the dashboard for more details.
Public Impact analyzes the dashboard results so we can continually improve Opportunity Culture materials and our work with schools and districts. Our goals are to reach all students with excellent teaching and all teachers with outstanding career opportunities and support.
“We are grateful to the hundreds of teachers, principals, and district staff nationally who have stepped out of their comfort zones to achieve more for students through Opportunity Culture,” said Emily Ayscue Hassel, co-founder of the Opportunity Culture initiative and Public Impact co-president. “Public Impact treasures both the feedback from these educators and the hard data to make Opportunity Culture even better for people as it grows.”
How Does an Opportunity Culture Work?
In each Opportunity Culture school, a team of teachers and administrators adopts new roles to reach more students with teachers who have produced high-growth student learning. Multi-classroom leaders lead a small teaching team, providing guidance and frequent on-the-job coaching while continuing to teach, often by leading small-group instruction. Accountable for the results of all students in the team, they also earn supplements averaging 20 percent (and up to 50 percent) of teacher pay, within the regular school budget. The schools redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time for teacher planning, coaching, and collaboration.
We welcome your questions and feedback; contact us here.
This column was first published on The 74 on February 13, 2018.
In survey after survey, teachers report dissatisfaction with the professional development they receive. Many aren’t satisfied with their professional learning communities or coaching opportunities. Teachers say they want more on-the-job development, career advancement while teaching, and collaboration time.
Some teachers are getting what they want. But is that good news for students? Do their students learn more?
According to a new study released through the CALDER Center, the answer is yes — a lot more. Authors Ben Backes of American Institutes for Research and Michael Hansen of the Brookings Institution found that students of teachers who receive these types of supports from multi-classroom leaders in Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture initiative showed sizable, statistically significant academic gains.