Race to the Top “Teacher and Leader” Planning Enters Final Stretch
On January 17th, school districts and charter schools will submit their revised “Teacher and Leader” section of their Race to the Top plans to the Delaware Department of Education. These plans will outline their strategy for increasing the quality and effectiveness of teachers and leaders within their respective campuses.
Initially, all districts would have been required to implement the plans in a similar fashion throughout the state (i.e. every school gets one data coach to work with cohorts of teachers). However, the Delaware DOE, recognizing that each district and school has different needs, is working with districts to assess their strengths and weaknesses in order to help districts craft innovative and bold plans that address these areas. This is a dramatic shift within the DOE from the traditional compliance driven role towards a more holistic customer service organization.
In response to this shift, the DOE has created a “menu” of options for districts to choose from based on their needs assessment along with organizing site visits to see these best practices in action. This menu of items includes:
- joining Delaware’s nationally recognized Vision Network;
- development coaches to help principals effectively evaluate teachers according to the DPAS II rubric;
- data coaches to help cohorts of teacher dig deep into student achievement data to drive instructional practices;
- SAMs to free up principal time in order to allow them to focus on instruction within their building;
- recruitment and selection of new teachers through alternative route programs, such as Teach for America; and
- development and placement of new campus leaders through a new leader pipeline.
We know the onus is on districts to craft bold plans to increase the effectiveness of their teachers and leaders – and hope that they use this once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge the status quo and push the envelope for all our students.