To attract and retain great teachers, Edgecombe County Public Schools, located along the Tar River in flood-ravaged North Carolina, has joined the national Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring budgets. The initiative now includes 17 sites in seven states, including three others in North Carolina.
Curious about the impact of an Opportunity Culture? We’ve just updated our dashboard, as we will every year, with the latest statistics. Such as:
- 110+ schools at 17 sites in 7 states—and growing
- 34,000+ students taught by teachers extending their reach—a 50 percent increase from 2015–16
- 1,250+ teachers with advanced roles or on-the-job development—a 50 percent increase, too
- Average pay supplements over $12,000, up more than $1,300 in one year
- $3.1 million in extra pay for teachers via supplements funded sustainably through reallocation
- Just 8.2% of applicants for Opportunity Culture advanced positions were hired
- High growth for 46 percent of Opportunity Culture schools—a much higher percentage than among typical schools
- Far fewer schools than typical made low growth (12%)
State and district leaders, here’s your chance: Under ESSA (the 2016 Every Student Succeeds Act), you can use your new funding flexibility to take a new approach that focuses on excellence for teachers and students. In a new brief and one-page executive summary, we explain four opportunities to achieve a culture of excellence under ESSA, one that attracts even more talented educators, keeps them for longer careers, and helps them excel.
What does ESSA require, and how can you go beyond those requirements? See the summary box below, then read the brief for details about exactly how to achieve excellence under key sections of the law, and about how Opportunity Culture schools make a culture of excellence possible.
The Harlandale Independent School District, in south-central San Antonio, Texas, has joined the national Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring budgets. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) made Texas the first state to support multiple districts in creating an Opportunity Culture; the initiative now includes districts in six states.
Harlandale ISD has about 15,000 students, 97 percent of whom are Hispanic, and more than 1,000 teachers. The district ranks near the bottom among Texas school districts for property wealth, and 100 percent of its students are eligible for free lunch.
How can new teachers and principals start their jobs prepared for educational excellence, and how can the schools that hire them know they’re ready to excel? In today’s preparation systems, no one is fully getting what they need—not aspiring teachers and principals, not schools, not students. There is a better way.
In Opportunity Culture schools, Multi-Classroom Leadership creates the potential for aspiring teachers to experience paid, full-time, yearlong residencies led by excellent teachers who lead instructional teams. Similarly, Multi-School Leadership, in which excellent principals lead two or more schools, creates the potential for paid, full-time residencies for aspiring principals—particularly ones who have already led instructional teams as multi-classroom leaders. New school models allow both teacher and principal residents to be paid for a year within existing budgets.
In a new brief from Public Impact, we show how to create such residencies. The teacher residencies are nothing like typical student teaching, in which schools—largely as a courtesy to teacher preparation programs—allow any teacher to supervise aspiring teachers on a part-time basis for a single semester, sometimes rotating among classrooms in unaccountable roles. Similarly, most new principals today lack substantial instructional leadership experience.
Instead, we envision a future in which every aspiring teacher and principal works as a paid, full-time, full-year resident coached by the nation’s best educators, while being screened for potential hiring.
What does teacher-leadership look like when teachers lead a team while continuing to teach? For four pioneering multi-classroom leaders in high-need elementary, middle, and high schools, it starts with taking accountability for up to 500 students and leading a collaborative teaching team toward higher growth and personalized learning for all those students.
These teacher-leaders took on roles in some of the first Opportunity Culture schools as multi-classroom leaders (MCLs). MCLs keep teaching while leading a team, providing support through co-planning, coaching, co-teaching, and team collaboration. In a new series of vignettes and an accompanying video from Public Impact, these multi-classroom leaders share their view of their roles, the actions they took to lead their teams, mistakes they made, and how they recovered.
“How many teachers are out there struggling daily because of lack of support? How many burn out because they’ve tried all they know? How many leave our profession early because they can’t do it on their own any longer? How many kids suffer because they have access to only one teacher? How many students are falling more and more behind because they have zero control over their educational trajectory? We need a change; more important, our students deserve change.
“Opportunity is knocking on our traditional educational doors. The question is: Will we answer? Teachers, administrators, policymakers: It’s time. Open the door.”
That was Charlotte Multi-Classroom Leader (MCL) Kristin Cubbage, who kicked off the Opportunity Culture series on Real Clear Education a year ago and wrapped it up this month, extolling what made her advanced role so valuable, and calling for more Opportunity Culture roles. Indeed, the Opportunity Culture initiative has continued to spread.
Cubbage was part of the first cohort of Opportunity Culture Fellows—pioneering teachers in Opportunity Culture schools who stepped up to share their views nationally, and who wrote this series, with accompanying videos, explaining what Opportunity Culture models look like in their schools and what they think about these highly accountable positions: