Turnaround Teachers: Personnel Strategies
The complete recipe for Singapore’s educational success is not public, but one element stands out: the development and thorough use of performance-linked “competencies” to measure, reward, and develop teacher performance. This report, written with support from The Joyce Foundation, explores Singapore’s successful teacher evaluation and development system—recognized by its education leadership and teachers as effective and fair. Read more…
In Education Next Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel describe six leadership strategies that recur in successful school turnarounds. Using the NYC Police Department and Continental Airlines, the authors explain the importance of focusing on a few early wins, breaking organizational norms, pushing rapid-fire experimentation, getting the right staff, driving change with data, and running a “turnaround campaign” to build support for change.
Public Impact has developed a series of resources designed to support school turnarounds. The series includes guides and toolkits that help select turnaround leaders and teachers based on the competencies–or patterns of thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting–that enable them to be successful in turnarounds.
Debate rages in education over whether to provide teachers with financial incentives in order to improve recruitment and retention in “hard-to-staff” schools and subject areas. In other public sectors—the civil service, military, and medicine—organizations take for granted that compensation is a powerful tool; they have moved from this debate about “whether” to a discussion of “how.” Experience from these domains suggests that a “portfolio” of incentives (including performance bonuses, loan repayment or scholarship programs, and other forms) may be most effective. As a component of this portfolio, performance-based incentives can boost both the recruitment and retention power of hard-to-staff pay—particularly for the high-potential candidates that we need most in hard-to-staff schools. But no matter the form, other sectors are offering more substantial premiums than we have seen in education: up to 30 percent of a staff member’s total pay in some high-demand positions. At the same time, many organizations in these other sectors are pursuing non-financial solutions, too, such as targeting a “ready pool” of candidates (who don’t mind or are already attracted to a position) to help reduce the additional incentives required—or reorganizing operations (often using technology) to reduce the need for the position. The report, including implications for public education, was presented in November 2008 at the Center for American Progress. A video of the panel discussion is available here.
In successful turnarounds, staff dismissals are typically small in number, and focused on employees who cannot or will not make the radical change necessary to dramatically improve performance. In this report, written by Julie Kowal, Jacob L. Rosch, Emily Ayscue Hassel, and Bryan C. Hassel, for the Center on Innovation and Improvement, we examine the research base on performance-based dismissals in other sectors to offer strategies for leaders in turnaround schools. A PowerPoint summary of the report is available here.