As a turnaround effort began to show results at Charlotte’s Ashley Part PreK-8, improvements in language arts achievement lagged. This Public Impact case study looks at why Ashley Park chose to implement an Opportunity Culture to address this, by using Multi-Classroom Leadership and blended learning through a Time-Technology Swap, and how the early days of implementation helped the school retain its best teachers. Watch the accompanying video, Ranson and Ashley Park Choose an Opportunity Culture.
Recruit, Select, and Keep Education Talent
Ranson IB Middle School in Charlotte, a high-poverty school struggling to improve academic achievement and teacher retention, turned to an Opportunity Culture to address its need for excellent teachers. This case study from Public Impact looks at the early days of Ranson’s implementation of two Opportunity Culture job models—Multi-Classroom Leadership and Time-Technology Swaps—and how an Opportunity Culture improved its recruitment and retention of great teachers. Watch the accompanying video, Ranson and Ashley Park Choose an Opportunity Culture.
To understand an Opportunity Culture, start here: For excellent teachers and those aspiring to excellence, and for administrative or education policy leaders, this brief provides an overview of how an Opportunity Culture can help teachers have the well-paid, empowered profession they deserve—while helping many more students succeed.
What brings excellent teachers in droves to apply for jobs in hard-to-staff schools? Project L.I.F.T. in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District started by offering a complete Opportunity Culture package of career advancement roles, then advertised those roles early, often, and clearly—leading to a strong uptick in both the quantity and quality of applicants for teaching roles at schools that previously saw many positions go unfilled. L.I.F.T. leaders explain how they did it in this brief vignette, with an accompanying video of principals and district leaders sharing how an Opportunity Culture attracts great teachers.
In the U.S., STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math—face urgent needs for great STEM teachers and well-educated students. An Opportunity Culture can help by extending the reach of excellent STEM teachers already in our schools and creating a teaching profession that attracts and retains these teachers through higher pay, within regular budgets, and multiple advancement opportunities. The Education Leaders’ Brief summarizes the grim facts about STEM employment and learning in the U.S. today, emerging efforts to stem the shortage of skilled teachers, and how an Opportunity Culture can help. The companion slide deck provides more statistics and graphics to explain the huge need for more and better STEM teachers; how to attract and retain great STEM teachers; and how to extend the reach of the excellent STEM teachers we already have, paying them much more within regular budgets, and giving them opportunities to lead and develop peers on the job.
This guide shows how districts can design teacher career paths that will keep excellent teachers in the classroom and extend their reach to more students, for more pay, within budget. When districts design these paths, they create opportunities for excellent teachers to reach more students directly and by leading teaching teams, for solid teachers to contribute to excellence immediately, and for all teachers to receive the support and development they deserve. The full guide walks a district through the organizing steps and details of designing Opportunity Culture pay and career paths that fit its needs and values. It includes an overview of key Opportunity Culture concepts, graphics and explanations detailing new school models and roles, and assistance for evaluating the impact of different compensation design choices. The steps guide districts to ensuring financial sustainability and designing a complete career lattice. The summary provides a brief overview and graphics that show how pay and career paths work at a glance.
In this report for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Public Impact takes an in-depth look at principal hiring practices in five urban districts. Despite making improvements, our primary finding is that principal hiring practices continue to fall short of what is needed, effectively causing needy schools to lose out on leaders with the potential to be great. So what to do? Districts must improve their hiring practices to take a more active approach to principal recruitment, evaluate candidates against the competencies and skills that successful principals are known to possess, carefully design a placement process that matches schools’ needs with candidates’ strengths, and continually evaluate hiring efforts to ensure that they are effectively recruiting, selecting, and placing the leaders that schools depend on for success. Our research also suggests that better hiring practices alone are only part of the solution; districts must also re-imagine the principal’s role so that it is a job that talented leaders want and are equipped to execute successfully. See the companion infographic for a quick summary.
Public Impact has published an overview of multiple career paths that schools can use to expand opportunities for their teachers. These career paths match Public Impact’s school models that use job redesign and technology to extend the reach of excellent teachers to more students, for more pay, within budget. Most of these school models create new roles and collaborative teams enabling all teachers and staff to develop and contribute to excellence. We call this an “Opportunity Culture.” In an Opportunity Culture, all teachers have career opportunities dependent upon their excellence, leadership, and student impact. Advancement allows more pay and greater reach. When teachers reach more students, per-pupil funds are freed to cover higher pay and other priorities.
This toolkit includes job descriptions, competencies, and companion tools that may be used to select, evaluate, and develop teachers and staff. These materials are built for six of the more than 20 school models described here. The jobs included in the toolkit cover most of the other school models as well. Some schools may combine school models, and in turn will need to alter the job descriptions and other materials accordingly. Schools must adapt these materials to fit each school setting and to incorporate additional selection, evaluation, and development priorities.
This report, written with support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, identifies four common strategies employed by other sectors to disproportionately retain high performers and discusses how committed education leaders could begin applying these strategies right now. Read more…
This white paper highlights six indicators of a robust talent pipeline so that charter supporters of all kinds—including charter school leaders, talent providers, charter support organizations, philanthropies, and politicians—can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their own efforts. It also shows through the examples of Indianapolis and New Orleans how charter supporters have been able to grow the supply of effective charter school teachers and leaders by focusing on these indicators. This white paper is part of a three-piece series continuing the discussion from a National Charter School Resource Center / U.S. Department of Education conference exploring emerging city-based movements that embrace high-quality charters as an integral component of their reform strategy.
Could redesigned K-12 teacher tenure actually improve student learning? Could it help to grow the size and power of an elite teaching corps that reaches far more children? This paper examines lessons from higher education and the civil service and applies fresh thinking to offer new “elite” and “inclusive” tenure designs and a framework for policymakers who want to make tenure meaningful. Today, K-12 tenure is granted to nearly all teachers, with almost no criteria, and within the first few years of teaching. As a tool to strengthen our nation’s schools and children’s prospects, tenure has failed. The culture of tenure and costs of associated pay scales also have created a nearly universal glass ceiling for the best teachers. But discussions about tenure nearly always fall into the “keep it or scrap it” camps. This paper inserts level-headed thinking into the K-12 tenure debate. A brief presentation, prepared for the Joyce Foundation, outlines key findings
Many have suggested that charter schools can be key agents in leading dramatic improvements in public education. However, the small number of highly-successful charter schools and charter management organizations currently in operation throughout the country will have to grow much faster in order to meet this challenge. To achieve that growth, they also will need a strong supply of great teachers and leaders. This report, for the Center for American Progress, by Christi Chadwick and Julie Kowal, looks at six leading charter management organizations (CMOs) – Green Dot, High Tech High, IDEA, KIPP, Rocketship, and YES Prep – and the strategies they have implemented to build the supply of high quality teachers and principals in their schools. The paper also presents barriers and challenges that still remain for these CMOs, as well as promising opportunities to support more rapid future growth. A brief presentation, prepared for the Joyce Foundation, outlines key findings.
The job of “teacher” in most schools today remains centered on full-time classroom responsibilities that are defined by the location, timing, and schedule of the school day and a one-teacher-per-classroom model. But particularly in today’s budget climate, interest in quality-focused job redesigns is increasing among forward-thinking state, district, and charter school leaders. In this report, prepared by Julie Kowal and Dana Brinson for the Center for American Progress, we profile two organizations—the Rocketship Education network of charter schools and the Fairfax County, VA school district— that have redesigned the job of teacher to provide new types of leadership opportunities and let great teachers reach larger numbers of students. A brief presentation, prepared for the Joyce Foundation, outlines key findings. Read more…
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.
One of the biggest challenges in education today is identifying talented candidates to successfully lead turnarounds of persistently low-achieving schools. Evidence suggests that the traditional principal pool is already stretched to capacity and cannot supply enough leaders to fix failing schools. But potentially thousands of leaders capable of managing successful turnarounds work outside education, in nonprofit and health organizations, the military, and the private sector. If only a fraction of those leaders used their talents in education, we could increase the supply of school turnaround leaders significantly. In this report prepared by Public Impact for the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education, Julie Kowal and Emily Hassel explore lessons about when and how organizations in other sectors import leaders – including how they tempt people away, train them, and foster their success – to inform efforts by state and local leaders to import talent for failing schools.
Expanding the Pipeline of Teachers and Principals in Urban Public Schools: Design Principles and Conditions for Success
(pdf) Meeting the significant demand for outstanding teachers and principals is a persistent challenge in many urban school systems. This report, prepared by Public Impact for the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation, analyzes common themes among eighteen promising programs to attract and prepare teachers and principals for success in urban school systems.
Cultivating Success through Multiple Providers, A New State Strategy for Improving the Quality of Teacher Preparation
Co-authored by Bryan C. Hassel and Michele E. Sherburne (Chapter 8 of A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom?, Harvard Education Publishing Group). This chapter explores a new state strategy for improving the quality of teacher preparation: authorizing a portfolio of providers. Under this strategy a state would cultivate a robust portfolio of providers of teacher preparation. These providers, including traditional purveyors of teacher education, nonprofit organizations and school districts, would serve as laboratories for diverse approaches to teacher education.