Public Impact is excited to announce that our Opportunity Culture initiative is partnering with the College Board and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) to reach rural school districts with excellent NCSSM teachers. In the first phase of this pilot, an excellent NCSSM teacher will become an Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leader for a team of pre-calculus teachers spread across rural North Carolina in the spring 2019 semester. The first phase will lay the groundwork to add more remotely located multi-classroom leaders from NCSSM and elsewhere.
We’re excited to share the latest results from Opportunity Culture schools in North Carolina, according to the data released by the state. The following is a column by Public Impact’s co-presidents, Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel, first published by EducationNC on January 2, 2019.
As the founders of the Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of great teaching to many more students, we keep a tight focus on how students and teachers benefit from Opportunity Culture implementation in their schools. In North Carolina — the largest implementation state so far, with 80 schools this year — the latest student growth numbers give one great example.
In 2017–18, while only 27 percent of non-Opportunity Culture schools in North Carolina exceeded student learning growth targets, nearly double that — 53 percent — of Opportunity Culture schools exceeded growth.
Opportunity Culture schools in the state were also far less likely to fall short of growth targets — 15 percent of schools versus 27 percent of non-Opportunity Culture schools. These results excluded any school where it was known that Opportunity Culture was not implemented in a tested grade or subject.
What’s new with Opportunity Culture? Recent news coverage highlights the growth and successes of Opportunity Culture, an initiative of Public Impact:
Guilford school board wants flexibility to help 9 low-performing schools: Jessie Pounds of the News & Record reported on the expansion of Opportunity Culture into nine schools in Greensboro, N.C., with the district planning for more. “I am really grateful that we have taken a very significant step in hopefully providing much needed support and resources,” said Guilford County Schools board member Byron Gladden.
How long should teachers work before receiving tenure? In a discussion of tenure in California, Education Dive reporter Amelia Harper notes the need to develop teachers as leaders: “Administrators can use professional development to develop teacher leaders or can work with organizations, such as Public Impact to implement models in which teachers oversee and support teachers in multiple classrooms. By doing so, they can help make more of their teachers tenure-worthy, whether they receive tenure in their state or not.”
3 Vance schools set to launch Opportunity Culture initiatives: Miles Bates of the Henderson (N.C.) Daily Dispatch reports on the expansion of Opportunity Culture schools in the Vance County Schools District. “It will provide us with the opportunity to expose excellence in teaching to all of our children and will be great support for our teachers,” said Principal Marylaura McKoon. “It really is a win-win situation. It will do good things for our school.”
Teachers kept quitting this Indianapolis school. Here’s how the principal got them to stay: Chalkbeat reporter Dylan Peers McCoy reported on the exciting news that after years of high turnover, Opportunity Culture was making a difference in teacher retention at Lew Wallace Elementary. When he surveyed his students this year, Principal Jeremy Baugh said, 97 percent said they planned to return next year. Read about what the team teachers and multi-classroom leaders say about the support they received. “I can’t even imagine doing it without Jessica,” first-year teacher Abby Campbell said about her multi-classroom leader, Jessica Smith. “I would’ve been a hot mess.” Education Dive noted the results as well.
Indianapolis is experimenting with a new kind of teacher — and it’s transforming this school: At School 107 in Indianapolis, Principal Jeremy Baugh said, “We needed to find a way to support new teachers to be highly effective right away.” Chalkbeat covers how Baugh and his staff began using Multi-Classroom Leadership this year to help their students. Historically a low-performing school, with high student and teacher turnover and a high number of English language learners, School 107 has already been able to keep one strong teacher in the classroom as an MCL instead of moving into administration, and with its team of MCLs could face an unexpected influx of 181 students who joined the school over the past few months. Read the full story here.
‘Opportunity Culture’ initiative coming to Vance County schools: Vance County Schools has become the fourth North Carolina district to participate in the national Opportunity Culture Initiative, reported The Daily Dispatch, with three elementary schools being the district’s first to implement their new teaching roles and school plans in the 2017-18 school year. Vance will be using multi-classroom leaders and expanded-impact teachers. Read the full story here.
Teacher leadership roles come to Edgecombe County: At Edgecombe County Public Schools, the first three of the district’s schools to embark on Opportunity Culture roles form a feeder pattern from elementary through high school, where, says Public Impact’s Shonaka Ellison,”we’re losing some really excellent teaching in schools.” As Liz Bell reports in EducationNC, Ellison is working closely with Edgecombe County administrators and teachers at the three schools to to plan new teaching roles and career paths aimed at recruiting and retaining great teachers. She led some of them on visits to Opportunity Culture schools in Charlotte, which also has challenges retaining teachers in high-needs schools–but Edgecombe, she notes, has the added challenge of being a rural district. “For a place like Edgecombe County, that’s really rural, having this type of career opportunity for teachers will help draw more teachers to the district,” she said. Read the full story here.
For more recent stories on Edgecombe, see December 2016 and January 2017 articles in The Rocky Mount Telegram: Edgecombe schools seek opportunities* and Edgecombe school district pursues new teacher recruitment plan.*
Scheduled for Success: Frank Zaremba of Barnette Elementary in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools writes: “When I became a multi-classroom leader for the exceptional children’s (EC’s) team, I expected to be able to use my 15 years of experience as an EC teacher and dean of students to coach teachers, especially special education teachers, and help them grow. But I quickly discovered that the people who needed support the most were the general classroom teachers who needed to know how to work with students with disabilities when an EC teacher couldn’t be in the room at the same time. What was the key to getting everyone on the same page and making terrific progress? Scheduling.” Read his inspiring column on what they did, and the impact on students, here in Real Clear Education.
*Articles are no longer available online.
Vance County Schools, based in Henderson, 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 recurring budgets. The initiative now includes 18 sites in seven states, including three other N.C. districts.