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.