Education Week, August 5, 2020, by Catherine Gewertz
Extending the reach of excellent teachers
One teacher-leadership model is sparking increased interest as schools grapple with how best to support students. It’s called the Multi-Classroom Leadership model, and it was designed by the education advocacy group Public Impact to help excellent teachers reach more students. More than 200 schools in 10 states use it, according to Bryan Hassel, Public Impact’s co-president, and he’s been getting “a lot of calls” from districts asking for details since the model was highlighted as promising in a couple of recent papers on school reopening.
In this model, a teacher with a strong track record of student growth is trained as a “multi-classroom leader” for five to eight teachers. The MCLs work with their teams to design instruction, co-teaching, and coaching along the way. They also help their teams analyze and respond to data on student learning and are evaluated in part on the learning growth in the team’s students. For those roles, they earn pay supplements of 20 percent or more, which come from their schools’ budgets, Hassel said.
The multi-classroom leaders play many roles at Washington Montessori Elementary School in Greensboro, N.C. Some work across all subjects, while others specialize. This year, one of the MCLs will support 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers in math, while the other works in reading, a move that will help teachers learn a new reading curriculum, said Principal Paul Travers.
The MCLs will also support teachers in remote learning, since they were trained as experts last spring, he said. In a year when his attentions will probably be spread very thin, the teacher-leaders will be able to provide a layer of support that he likely cannot, Travers said.
They work with teachers to define the next steps in instruction. They brainstorm about how to reconnect with students who aren’t logging in. And they provide daily or weekly observations and feedback “at an intensity level” he couldn’t do with 22 teachers, Travers said.