With advice and feedback from the first multi-classroom leaders (MCLs) in the Opportunity Culture initiative, Public Impact has created a free set of in-depth training sessions uniquely suited to the MCL role. The sessions may also benefit other teacher-leaders who lead teams and develop colleagues on the job.
Multi-Classroom Leadership is the most popular model chosen by school design teams implementing Opportunity Culture models. Multi-classroom leaders are excellent teachers who continue teaching while leading a team of teachers, taking full accountability for the success of the team’s teachers and students—for a lot more pay. But that combination of teaching and team leadership requires new skills that few teachers—even excellent ones—have developed. Feedback from MCLs indicated that leadership programs focused on aspiring principals or traditional coach/mentor roles don’t suit the needs of the high-accountability MCL role, which requires daily instructional management and leadership to succeed.
Opportunity Culture models use teamwork, job redesign, and technology to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring budgets. Each school creates a design team that selects and adapts models that will suit their school best. Teachers and principals on these teams cite the importance of genuine team leadership and consistent, on-the-job feedback and development as key factors in the frequent choice to use Multi-Classroom Leadership, as well as the desire to reach as many students as possible with great teaching. In some schools, MCLs operate as a team of leaders for the school, supporting one another and the principal.
The MCL training sessions are structured to run over three summer days, followed by six shorter sessions during the school year. New and experienced MCLs can experience these sessions in formal training, study them on their own, or study them in meetings with other MCLs in their schools. District professional learning staff, principals, assistant principals, and other training providers can lead sessions using the included facilitator notes. Public Impact also organizes formal training and train-the-trainer sessions—with experienced, successful MCLs co-facilitating—and helps districts and schools establish a clear process for MCLs and principals to support one another’s success.
In 2014–15, the Opportunity Culture initiative included more than 30 schools, 450 teachers, and 16,000 students, and will include more than 60 schools in 2015–16. Early data from the initiative reveal that:
- Teachers in these schools typically reach 33 percent to 300 percent more students than average, without increasing instructional group sizes.
- All of the schools that implemented Opportunity Culture models schoolwide showed high growth in reading and math by the second year of implementation.
- Schools implementing the models gradually showed 42 percent to 70 percent more high growth, and substantially less low growth, in Opportunity Culture classrooms than comparable non-Opportunity Culture classrooms in the same and other schools.
- In an anonymous survey, a large majority of teachers and staff agreed with a wide range of positive statements about their Opportunity Culture models. For example, 92 percent, 96 percent, and 98 percent of MCLs, respectively, agreed with statements that teachers who excel in teaching can earn more, lead colleagues, and reach more students in their schools.
- Districts received up to 30 applications per position for Opportunity Culture roles.
- Teachers earned up to $23,000 supplements from regular school budgets, with an average of $10,000 for advanced roles.