The Summer 2018 edition of our newsletter for Opportunity Culture educators includes a look at engaging facts and figures on the Opportunity Culture Dashboard; a column by expanded-impact teacher Tu Willingham of Fulton County, Georgia; the announcement of the latest district to join an Opportunity Culture, Guilford County, N.C.; and links to free tools and resources to use now! Read the Summer 2018 newsletter here.
Published by Georgia Public Broadcasting, May 23, 2018, by Expanded-Impact Teacher Tu Willingham
In many businesses, “efficiency” is a top goal. In work with students, a focus on efficiency may sound cold—but take a look at all the work I must do before I can even begin instruction in my classroom: Take attendance; grade papers; give meaningful feedback on assignments; collect assignments; implement educational technology; handle discipline concerns; provide remediation for struggling students.
Even as a 24-year teacher with the experience and ability to intuit the specific needs of a class, I find it difficult to effectively execute all these tasks efficiently enough to create more instructional time.
And gaining any time we can for instruction is crucial at any school, but especially at ones like mine—where nearly all students come from economically challenged homes.
I think we’ve found a way. Beginning in 2016, I became an Opportunity Culture expanded-impact teacher (EIT), in which I teach more students than usual—40 per class instead of 25. EITs are selected for their prior record of success with student learning and are paid more (within regular school budgets); it’s an especially effective model for schools that are hard to staff.
Published in Chalkbeat, May 9, 2018 by Dylan Peers McCoy
When Jeremy Baugh took the helm as principal of School 107 three years ago, staff turnover was so high that about half the teachers were also new to the struggling elementary campus, he said. For his first two years, the trend continued — with several teachers leaving each summer.
“In the back of my mind,” he said, “I just kind of had assumed that that was going to be the norm — that I was going to have to always be on the lookout for good talent.”
But when he surveyed his staff this year, Baugh got some unexpected news: about 97 percent of teachers said they plan on returning. “I was thrilled,” he said.
Staff say the change is heavily driven by a new teacher leadership program Indianapolis Public Schools has rolled out at 15 schools. Known as opportunity culture, some teachers are paid as much as $18,300 extra per year to oversee and support several classrooms.
Educators at School 107, which is also known as Lew Wallace, say opportunity culture helps retain staff in two ways: It gives new teachers, who can often feel overwhelmed, support. And, it allows experienced teachers to take on more responsibility without leaving the classroom.
April 19, 2018, CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Under Superintendent Sharon Contreras, Guilford County Schools 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 four other N.C. districts. Guilford will be the second of the state’s five largest districts to join. Read the full press release…
The Spring 2018 edition of our newsletter for Opportunity Culture educators includes a summary of a recent study showing strong student learning gains in Opportunity Culture schools with multi-classroom leaders, a column by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools MCL Candace Butler, a spotlight on recent teacher-leader award winners, and links to free resources to use now! Read the Spring 2018 newsletter here.