NewsChannel5 profiles the paid student teachers program at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary, one of the Opportunity Culture pilot schools in the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ iZone. Hailey Hunt, one of 12 “aspiring teachers,” discusses why this model for student teaching pleases her.
After decades of reform efforts, have any of the players in education really gotten what they want? Teachers still don’t get the respect and substantial rewards they deserve, and students haven’t seen big leaps in achievement. Public Impact Co-Directors Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel see a new way forward–one that focuses on excellent teachers, but takes us to a brighter future for everyone. In An Opportunity Culture for All: Making Teaching a Highly Paid, High-Impact Profession, the Hassels update their vision of an Opportunity Culture, showing how extending the reach of great teachers can start a virtuous cycle of excellence and higher pay for all teachers.
As they note:
Studies prove the enormous effect that excellent teachers have on closing achievement gaps, cultivating students’ higher-order thinking, improving children’s lifelong prospects, and bolstering our national security and economic power.
However, today’s classrooms do not have enough teachers who achieve the high-growth, higher-order learning our modern economy demands—at least, not in today’s one-teacher-one-classroom mode. Studies have shown that only about 25 percent of today’s teachers produce enough progress—well over a year’s worth of learning growth in a year’s time—to help students close achievement gaps and leap ahead. Students starting behind need multiple years of these great teachers to catch up. Students starting in the middle need the same to advance to honors-level work.
Multi-classroom leaders in Nashville’s iZone: Listen to Aundrea Cline-Thomas report on NewsChannel5 about Opportunity Culture teacher-leaders at Buena Vista Elementary, Robert Churchwell Elementary, and Bailey Middle School in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Cline-Thomas discusses how these excellent teachers are extending their reach to more students by leading a team of teachers–while being accountable for the results of all students in the team–and focusing their own teaching on small groups of struggling students, all for more pay. Read more about Multi-Classroom Leadership, and see how Charlotte, N.C., schools are implementing this model.
Christopher Gergen and Stephen Martin focused their “Doing Better at Doing Good” column in The (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer on Public Impact and our Opportunity Culture models, noting our work with Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Project L.I.F.T.
“The reach extension strategy has far-reaching implications for the way our classrooms are designed, our teachers are trained, and our budgets are constructed. It’s transformative work that is hard to do. But the allure of providing excellent teaching for all of our children while providing team-based development and well-compensated professional pathways to our state’s teachers is undeniable,” wrote Gergen, the founder of Bull City Forward and Queen City Forward, a fellow with the Fuqua Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University, and author of Life Entrepreneurs, and Martin, a director at the Center for Creative Leadership and author of The Messy Quest for Meaning.
Read our case study about the work four Project L.I.F.T. high-needs schools did this spring to create their own Opportunity Cultures in the 2013-14 school year, and a companion Q&A with one teacher about becoming a highly paid teacher-leader under the Multi-Classroom Leadership model. And watch this spot for the upcoming publication of a complete toolkit to walk any school or district through the creation of their own Opportunity Culture.
When a charter school doesn’t uphold its end of the charter bargain—autonomy for accountability—and fails to produce strong student learning, must closing the school be the only option? Scattering its students—especially when they have no other high-quality schools available nearby—may disrupt an already-fragile community unnecessarily, if a better option exists. One promising alternative: Introduce new adults who have the will and skill to help struggling students achieve, and let the students stay.
A new report by Public Impact’s Daniela Doyle and Tim Field, The Role of Charter Restarts in School Reform: Honoring our Commitments to Students and Public Accountability explores a variation on school closure in which a charter school’s operator and board change, while the school continues to serve the same students.