NTC, meOffer my opinion at an education policy analyst and observer as well as draw upon my organizational footing at New Teacher Center
Talent Recruitment vs. Talent DevelopmentTime to Learn, Collaborate, Reflect, Plan, TeachTrust – Professional Judgment – historic teacher/educator control over certification, pd, evaluation – changing?
Raise the bar for initial readiness through teaching standards, higher preparation expectations, certification structures = YESClinical experience during in preservice in different teaching contexts may be most important element within teacher prep reform agendas.Induction is not remediative, but an extension of this developmental continuumARGUMENT: Focus on early-career teachers critical – (1) learning curve, (2) #s of BTs, (3) impact of induction done well
Evaluation is generally described as having two primary purposes: (1) measuring teacher performance; and (2) providing individualized feedback and support to strengthen teaching.Movin It & Improvin’ It – NTC believes we need to “treat teachers’ effectiveness as “a mutable trait that can be improved with time.”States & the federal govt much more aggressive in requiring and making evaluations non-negotiable – teacher learning and development an afterthought.“Teachers are learners, too.” Learning doesn’t stop when you stop being a student, or when you exit a preparation program.
Policy Focus on Recruiting TalentTalent Development overlooked – Early Career TeachersGreeningPhases of First-Year Teaching – Research on BT EffectivenessNeed for Individualized Teacher Learning, Opportunities to Collaborate with Veteran, Effective Peers
The “greening” of the teaching force1987-88 common teacher in US had 15 years of teaching experienceToday the typical teacher has spent just a single year in the classroomDisproportionate distribution of new teachersLow-income/low-achieving students are most likely assigned a beginning teachers
Anticipation - Begins during preservice preparation. The more excited and anxious they become as they move into their first teaching position. Often romanticize the role of the teacher. New teachers enter with a tremendous commitment to making a difference and a somewhat idealistic view of how to accomplish their goals. Survival - The first month of school is very overwhelming. BTs are caught off guard by the realities of teaching. During the survival phase, most new teachers struggle to keep their heads above water. First-year teachers usually maintain a tremendous amount of energy and commitment during the survival phase, harboring hope that soon the turmoil will subside.Disillusionment - Entered after six to eight weeks of nonstop work and stress. The intensity and length of the phase varies among new teachers. The extensive time commitment, the realization that things are probably not going as smoothly as they want, and low morale contribute to this period of disenchantment. BTs begin questioning both their commitment and their competence.Rejuvenation -The rejuvenation phase is characterized by a slow rise in the BT’s attitude toward teaching. It generally begins in January. Having a winter break makes a tremendous difference for BTs. Through their experiences in the first half of the year, BTs gain new coping strategies and skills to prevent, reduce, or manage many problems they are likely to encounter in the second half of the year. During this phase, new teachers focus on curriculum development, long-term planning and teaching strategies.Reflection - Begins in May and is a particularly invigorating time for first-year teachers. Reflecting back over the year, they highlight events that were successful and those that were not. They think about the various changes that they plan to make the following year in management, curriculum, and teaching strategies. The end is in sight, and they have almost made it; but more importantly, a vision emerges as to what their second year will look like, which brings them to a new phase of anticipation.
NTC CO WorkVision & Communication
Are we approaching and designing teacher evaluation the wrong way?To riff off the cartoon, are we placing too many apples into the evaluation bucket?Is evaluation the right vehicle for providing feedback on teaching practice?Would such feedback be better delivered through lower-stakes, peer-driven structures, such as coaching and mentoring?
Most district leaders think of induction as separate from evaluation.
States are demanding greater accountability but flagging on their commitment to develop and support new teachersFew states have induction policies (2012)27 states required teacher inductionOnly 11 required 2 or more yearsEvaluation alone cannot sufficiently inform and accelerate new teacher development
Research from AIR, the federal Center on Great Leaders and Leaders, and others finds that “Evaluation is most effective when it is integrated with other processes that support professional growth.” If designed as part of a broader system, “feedback, instruction, reflection, and mentoring activities move development from a one-time or infrequent event to continuing growth.” It is critical that districts build these principles and structures into their evaluation systems because, when it comes down to it, a district’s teacher evaluation system will succeed or fail based on its ability to improve teaching.In addition to the broader system, there are also opportunities for Illinois to make the evaluation system itself more attentive to the unique developmental needs of new teachers, something that may be more directly within the purview of PEAC.The MET Project suggests that teachers should be observed at least four times per year. Teacher induction research, however, suggests that more “frequent” observations of the new teacher’sclassroom—as well as opportunities to observe veteran or exemplary teachers—is necessary to improve beginning teachers’ practice. The Gates research also suggests that more than one observer should evaluate each teacher. While PERA does not preclude the utilization of multiple observers, in practice it would appear that principals and administrators are poised to do most, if not all, of the heavy lifting in Illinois districts.
Duration of induction supportSupport providers vs. evaluatorsProgram embedded in a support systemNumber of observations per yearPost-observation conferencesExpectations for new teachersTraining and support for evaluators and mentorsRelease time for mentors/coaches
Utilize evaluation components and requirements to provide beginning teachers with regular performance feedback and support. This feedback and support will come as part of their performance evaluation, but may also come from an induction mentor who can provide feedback on classroom observations that are not included in the performance evaluation.Align induction programs to the performance evaluation program. Induction and mentoring programs can help beginning teachers reach proficiency sooner. Illinois state policy defines induction programs, which are optional but not required for new teachers, which could provide the necessary depth and frequency of feedback to beginning teachers to accelerate their professional learning and strengthen their effectiveness in the classroom.More specifically, the Illinois guidance suggests a number of approaches that school districts can use to structure observation requirements to ensure that beginning teachers receive regular and specific feedback on their performance. These include increasing the number of required observations for beginning teachers, implementing regular informal observation requirements, using post-observation conferences or other feedback mechanisms for informal observations, organizing the pacing of feedback throughout the school year, including mid-year evaluation conferences to discuss formative student growth data and other evaluation data, training evaluators to give high-quality, specific feedback on performance, and providing non-evaluative feedback to support the growth and development of beginning teachers. The guidance also looks at aligning induction and evaluation. According to the document, an aligned induction program is "designed to work with the evaluation system so that evidence on teacher practice may be gathered in a coordinated way and the two systems work together to provide beginning teachers with support and guidance." It suggests that school districts can accomplish this by synchronizing the beginning teacher support with the performance evaluation rubric and observation processes and tools.
http://www.tellkentucky.orgSince 2009, NTC’s successful Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Initiative has brought the voices of more than one million educators through 15 statewide surveys to the policy-making discussion.TELL survey uses validated key constructs (Managing student conduct, use of time, decision-making, instructional practices, professional development, school & teacher leadership, community engagement) to measure teaching conditions. Schools, districts and states receive their own data (when survey response rates are sufficiently high enough to maintain confidentiality), in a web-based, publicly accessible format and provided in multiple, user-friendly files. The foundation for this success is the creation of the “TELL Partners” to guide all decision making processes. Key education stakeholders are asked to be TELL Partners, including union leaders, state departments of education, association representatives (superintendents, school boards, and principals), parents, and business leaders. Buy-in from these decision-makers not only helps to increase survey response rates via a vast communication network, but also aids in the use of the data at the school, district, and state levels. Kentucky is one example of successful coalition building. The first statewide survey (2011) resulted in a record breaking 80% response rate, and increased to 87% in the 2013 survey. NTC worked with Partners to develop their own Guides for using the data. Kentucky's example demonstrates how educational data need not be used solely for accountability, but to inform and shape school and instructional improvement.
Former NEA executive director John Wilson, in his Education Week blog, wrote that "a positive culture and work environment" is critical to enable teachers to thrive and excel. He "salutes" states that have utilized the NTC Teaching and Learning Conditions Survey to collect and assess data on educators' perceptions of working conditions. "Great teachers will follow a principal to the most challenging school if that principal has demonstrated trust and respect as well as a willingness to allow great teachers the freedom to select and implement the best instructional methods for their students." Second, a recent TNTP report identified teaching conditions as one of three key factors in retaining top-performing teachers. The study, focusing on four large, urban school districts, found that schools that retain more top-performing teachers tend to have a strong culture of mutual respect and leaders that respond to poor performance and prioritize great teaching. The report concludes with recommendations, including the monitoring of school working conditions and the use of this data to address concerns and increase teacher retentionTaken as a group, variation in the working conditions variables accounts for about 15 percent of the explained variation in actual departure rates in elementary schools, 13 percent in middle schools, and 10 percent in high schools. Taken together, the working conditions variables account for 10 to 15 percent of the explained variation in math and reading scores across schools, after controlling for individual and school level characteristics of schools.EPAA - A VERY exciting forthcoming peer review journal article coming out that uses our TELL data in Charlotte-Meck from our friends on the faculty at Brown, Matt Kraft and John Papay:After only three years (the induction period), the professional environment of the school (as measured by 24 of our questions) created a 12% improvement gap. So after 3 years, a new teacher in a school with positive conditions will increase their individual effectiveness (value added gains) by 12% more than if they were in a school with worse conditions (while controlling for everything you can think of.My two favorite parts from the conclusions/implications:* "Our findings also illustrate how policies aimed at improving teacher effectiveness that focus on the individual, ignoring the role of the organization, fail to recognize or leverage the potential importance of the school context in promoting teacher redevelopment. We show that the degree to which teachers become more effective over time varies substantially by school. In some schools, teachers improve at much greater rates than others. We find that this improvement is strong related to the opportunities and supports provided by the professional context in which they work."* "In contrast to a one-time investment in teacher skills, teachers have the potential to benefit from the learning opportunities provided by a supportive professional environment every day. Our findings suggest that working in a more supportive environment is related to improvement which accumulates throughout the first ten years of the career."
NTC websiteNTC Policy News
Teachers Are Learners, Too
Teachers R Learners 2
2014 Ted Andrews Winter Symposium
February 6, 2014
Liam Goldrick, Director of Policy