What’s in Your School’s Toolbox?

March 16th, 2011

Category: News

Last week, The New Teacher Project unveiled their School Leader’s Toolbox, which provides innovative tools and strategies to build and maintain high-performing schools around five areas, including recruitment and hiring of candidates, evaluation, retaining high performers, performance accountability, and building a professional culture.    

There are many lessons Delaware could take from these high-performing schools – and some that are gearing up for implementation through Race to the Top.  For example, high-performing schools:

  • Place enormous emphasis on the recruitment and selection of candidates, starting in September (for the following school year) at some schools!  This is drastically different from our current practice of hiring the majority of our teachers in late summer.
  • Set rigorous and clear expectations around teacher evaluation, require frequent observation and feedback, use student growth to determine effectiveness, and utilize results to dictate decisions around critical employment decisions.  These practices are deeply embedded in the DPAS II evaluation system currently under development for implementation next school year.
  • Recognize that teachers differ in their performance – and make every effort possible to retain and leverage the talent of their high-performers through monetary and non-monetary awards, leadership opportunities, and innovative career pathways.  This aligns nicely with our Race to the Top efforts of providing performance bonuses and recruitment/retention bonuses to highly-effective educators to teach in our neediest communities

While we are making steady progress through Race to the Top to implement many of these best practices, there is still a lot we could learn from these high-flyers to improve our own actions, and, ultimately, student achievement within our schools.  

Brett Turner




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